USWNT roster for World Cup and Olympic qualifiers released

USWNT roster for World Cup and Olympic qualifiers released

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Vlatko Andonovski, coach of the United States women’s national soccer team, has used the past six months to test young players and better understand his talent pool ahead of the World Cup and Olympic qualifying tournament this summer. .

Although some veterans were left out of this process, Andonovski swore they were still in on it. On Monday, he recalled two of them, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, who will help anchor the 23-man squad in the Concacaf W Championship from July 4-18 in Monterrey, Mexico.

The eight-team tournament will decide four automatic berths for the 2023 World Cup and one for the 2024 Olympics. (Another Olympic berth will be settled next year.)

But first, the Americans will play friendlies against Colombia on June 25 in suburban Denver and June 28 in the greater Salt Lake City area.

Rapinoe and Morgan haven’t been on the top-ranked US team since October. While Morgan was an obvious selection – she leads the National Women’s Soccer League with nine goals – Rapinoe has yet to start an NWSL game this season.

Andonovski cited Rapinoe’s experience, leadership and, despite turning 37 next month, his ability to still make an impact on the game.

“We know what Megan is capable of,” he said. “We saw even in a few minutes regarding the last game how dangerous she can be. But also the thing with Megan is that she’s very important to this band. It’s a young group…so their experience of adversity, winning mentality, knowledge and understanding are very valuable to the group.

Andonovski also noted that Mallory Pugh, who is in fine form with the Chicago Red Stars, leads Rapinoe on the depth chart.

“I don’t see anyone getting that starting spot from Mallory right now,” he said. “She’s just amazing.”

Andonovski added: “What makes Megan special is that she understands [the situation] and she will do whatever she can to push Mal to be even better.

Morgan, a striker with 115 goals in 190 U.S. appearances, has scored in five of her last eight appearances for the San Diego Wave and has a four-goal game against Gotham FC.

Defender Becky Sauerbrunn, 37, is also back after recovering from a knee injury. World Cup veterans Alyssa Naeher, Kelley O’Hara, Emily Sonnett, Rose Lavelle and Lindsey Horan have also been selected.

“They don’t make the team because they’re just experienced; they are part of the team, first and foremost, because they can perform,” Andonovski said. “Their experience is a bonus.”

O’Hara and Sonnett were among seven Washington Spirit players named to the team. The others were goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury, midfielders Andi Sullivan and Ashley Sanchez, and forwards Trinity Rodman and Ashley Hatch. No other NWSL team has more than four.

Many regulars were unavailable due to injury (Catarina Macario, Sam Mewis, Lynn Williams, Tierna Davidson and Abby Dahlkemper) or maternity leave (Crystal Dunn, Julie Ertz and Casey Krueger).

Tobin Heath and Christen Press, extremely experienced attackers, were not selected. Injuries have limited Heath to 17 league appearances over the past two years. Press suffered a knee injury on Saturday, but even if she was healthy she would not have been included in the squad, Andonovski said.

“She’s doing well,” Andonovski said, “but it’s not just her now at this stage. She’s competing with the players in front of her. … It’s not easy because the competition has become more bigger.

Thirteen selected players have never made the playoffs. The biggest surprise was San Diego Wave midfielder Taylor Kornieck, a third-year pro invited to her first senior camp. Seven others have appeared in less than 10 international matches.

Guardians: Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars).

Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Kelley O’Hara (Washington), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns), Emily Sonnett (Washington).

Midfielders: Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyonnais), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington), Andi Sullivan (Washington).

Forwards: Ashley Hatch (Washington), Alex Morgan (San Diego), Midge Purce (Gotham FC), Mallory Pugh (Chicago), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington), Sophia Smith (Portland).

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