USWNT World Cup roster prediction: Who makes it?

Based off what we've seen from the Concacaf W Championship and SheBelieves Cup, a USWNT World Cup roster prediction seems like a pretty straightforward exercise — Vlatko Andonovski hasn't been tinkering away with his squads. 

However, the dramatic recall of Julie Ertz showed us that certain veterans can't be ruled out with three months of club ball still to be played. There are proven stars returning from longterm injuries who'll be watched closely by the staff, and let's just hope that Mallory Swanson is the only late addition to the casualty list. 

But if the World Cup started now, these would be the 23 players headed to New Zealand and Australia for the World Cup.

USWNT World Cup roster prediction (23-player squad) 

Goalkeepers (3) 

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Starter: Alyssa Naeher

Backup: Casey Murphy

Emergency: Adrianna Franch

Who misses out: Aubrey Kingsbury

Reasoning: The goalkeepers' union is strong. Naeher is the clear No. 1 after playing every minute of the last World Cup and shining at the Olympics, and Murphy has emerged as a dependable backup and potential future starter. Franch was also part of the last World Cup and Olympic squads. 

Defenders (8) 

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Left back: Crystal Dunn

Backup: Emily Sonnett 

Center back: Becky Sauerbrunn (captain)

Backup: Tierna Davidson

Center back: Naomi Girma

Backup: Alana Cook

Right back: Emily Fox

Backup: Sofia Huerta 

Who misses out: Kelley O'Hara, Casey Krueger, Hailie Mace, Abby Dahlkemper (injury)  

Reasoning: The 34-year-old O'Hara earned her 157th cap against Ireland, but I think Sonnett gets the call with her versatility. Andonovski will be closely monitoring Davidson's form with Chicago, but the heart of defense seems pretty locked. The same goes for the right-hand side.  

Midfielders (6)

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Defensive mid: Julie Ertz  

Backup: Andi Sullivan 

Center mid: Lindsey Horan 

Backup: Kristie Mewis 

Center mid: Rose Lavelle 

Backup: Ashley Sanchez  

Who misses out: Sam Coffey, Jaelin Howell, Taylor Kornieck, Sam Mewis (injury) 

Reasoning: Ertz is back and just needs to find a club to be at her very best come July 22. Her presence spells the end for those who deputized in her place — Coffey, Kornieck and Howell. 

Forwards (6)

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Left wing: Alyssa Thompson 

Backup: Megan Rapinoe 

Striker: Alex Morgan 

Backup: Lynn Williams 

Right wing: Sophia Smith 

Backup: Trinity Rodman 

Who misses out: Midge Purce, Ashley Hatch, Tobin Heath, Christen Press, Catarina Macario 

Reasoning: Rapinoe could be the starter on the left, but a lot will come down to how Thompson plays for Angel City over the next couple months — I predict big things. Rapinoe, who'll be 38 at the World Cup, is a lethal option off the bench. At striker, I think Williams' versatility gives her the edge over Hatch.

Heath is without a club and rehabbing a knee injury while Press is dealing with the same situation, but Macario is probably the one player who could make a spectacular return. Her anticipated comeback for the UWCL semifinals is no longer possible after Lyon's surprise elimination, but the club still has four league matches remaining and the Coupe de France final.

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