USWNT's Midge Purce tears ACL, will miss Olympics and Gotham FC's NWSL season

Mar 15, 2024; Harrison, New Jersey, USA; NJ/NY Gotham FC forward Midge Purce (23) in action during the first half of the 2024 UKG NWSL Challenge Cup against the San Diego Wave FC  at Red Bull Arena. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Midge Purce won't be able to help Gotham FC defend its title. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) (USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Connect / Reuters)

Midge Purce, a USWNT player and the reigning NWSL Championship Game MVP, will miss the rest of Gotham FC's season as well as the 2024 Olympics after tearing her ACL on Sunday.

The 28-year-old Purce released a statement saying she was "heartbroken" by the injury and thanked everyone who had sent their support:

The injury occurred during Gotham's season opener against the Portland Thorns. She appeared to sustain an injury early in the game but continued to play until stoppage time in the first half, when she went down hard after battling Sophia Smith for the ball.

Purce immediately yelled, grabbed her left knee and yelled, "I'm out!" repeatedly as she limped off the field.

The injury is a blow to both Gotham and the USWNT. Purce's versatility meant even the latter's forward depth might not have kept her off the roster for Paris. She was previously under consideration for a spot on the national team's 2023 Women's World Cup roster, but missed that tournament too due to a quad tear.

Purce posted four goals and two assists in 12 regular-season games for Gotham last year, then helped lead the team to its first NWSL championship.

This injury continues a trend Gotham FC head coach Juan Carlos Amoros complained about. Purce is the latest player to get hurt after the Gold Cup disrupted the NWSL's preseason. Gotham was also missing Rose Lavelle and Lynn Williams on Sunday due to injuries, while the Kansas City Current was without Brazilian forward Debinha.

From ESPN:

"Again, we are paying the consequences of a tournament that should have never happened," Amoros said on Sunday when asked about Purce. "We're talking all the time about protecting the players. The players could not go to play an international competition after one week of preseason. We're seeing the consequences now with Rose, Lynn, last week it was Debinha, now we have Midge.

"These players, [in] my experience, the clubs are going to keep paying for that competition."