- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Forward Alex Morgan was in the starting lineup for the United States’ match Tuesday against Nigeria at the Women’s World Cup.

The speedy 25-year-old had come in as a substitute in the team’s first two matches while working her way back from a bone bruise in her left knee.

The second-ranked United States was atop Group D going into the match with Nigeria and a win would advance the team to a knockout stage opener in Edmonton, Alberta.

Morgan, who has 51 goals in 84 international appearances, had not started in a match since April 11, the season opener for the Portland Thorns of the National Women’s Soccer League. Her last start for the United States came in a 4-0 victory over New Zealand in St. Louis, Missouri.

She missed the national team’s three send-off matches in the United States.

Morgan has been dogged by injuries for more than a year. She sat out nine games with the Thorns last season because of a left ankle sprain she sustained in national team training camp in October 2013.

She returned to action for the Thorns that June, but reinjured the ankle last fall during a group-stage match in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, which served as qualifying for the World Cup.

She did not return until this year, scoring in a 1-0 victory over England in February and in a 3-0 win over Switzerland in an Algarve Cup match in March.

The U.S. is seeking its third World Cup title but first since 1999 after losing the 2011 final in Germany to Japan on penalty kicks.

Also up top with Morgan at forward was Abby Wambach, who came in as a substitute in the United States’ 0-0 draw with Sweden last Friday.

It was the first time Wambach, the team’s all-time leading scorer, had come off the bench in a World Cup since her first in 2003.

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