USWNT captain Becky Sauerbrunn to miss Women's World Cup with foot injury

The United States women's national team will enter the 2023 World Cup with another notable injury.

USWNT captain and centerback Becky Sauerbrunn will miss the tournament in Australia and New Zealand due to a foot injury sustained in April, according to The Athletic.

Sauerbrunn confirmed the news in a statement via Twitter hours later, writing "Heartbroken isn't even the half of it."

The development will cost the USWNT one of its longest-tenured players and a key defensive presence. Sauerbrunn is the team's active leader in caps with 207 and has appeared in the past three World Cups, winning titles in 2015 and 2019. She was also part of the team's gold medal-winning team in 2012.

In Sauerbrunn's absence, the USWNT has a few veterans it could turn to as options to carry the armband. Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Kelley O'Hara all have more than a decade of national team experience and will be on the World Cup roster — O'Hara wasn't a lock but The Athletic reports she has made the team. Morgan seems likely to get the nod as a projected starter.

ST LOUIS, MO - APRIL 11: Becky Sauerbrunn #4 of the United States warms up before a game between the Republic of Ireland and the USWNT at CITYPARK on April 11, 2023 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Brad Smith/USSF/Getty Images)
Becky Sauerbrunn is one of the USWNT's top veterans. (Photo by Brad Smith/USSF/Getty Images)

The team will also likely now feature the duo of Alana Cook and Naomi Girma at centerback, flanked by fullbacks Emily Fox and Crystal Dunn.

USWNT racking up injuries before Women's World Cup

Sauerbrunn is only the latest USWNT mainstay to be ruled out before the World Cup.

The team has already lost star forwards Mallory Swanson to a torn patellar tendon and Catarina Macario to lingering issues from a torn ACL. Both players are massive losses, but the USWNT is nothing if not deep at forward with names like Morgan, Sophia Smith, Trinity Rodman and Lynn Williams still effective and available.

Midfielder Sam Mewis has also been out since 2021 with a knee injury, and will miss the World Cup.

That may not be the extent of the losses. Midfielder Rose Lavelle has been out since April and still seems to be a question mark heading into the tournament, which begins July 20.