USWNT manager Vlatko Andonovski has announced his squad for the Nov. 27 friendly against the Netherlands, and — as always given the extremely competitive nature of forcing your way into this team — the exclusions are probably more notable than the inclusions.
In terms of unproven talent, the roster has three uncapped players: goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe, 20-year-old forward Sophia Smith and 21-year-old midfielder Catarina Macario. There’s also room for defenders Alana Cook and Midge Purce (both with one cap) and forward Ashley Hatch (two caps).
One common theme is that the roster includes footballers that Andonovski has been able to watch play over the course of the pandemic — be it in the NWSL, abroad or at the recent training camp in Commerce City, Colorado.
Accordingly, the big omissions are players that don’t exactly constitute the longterm future of the team or simply haven’t played a lot over the past eight months. The most notable omissions are those that featured at the 2019 World Cup, including Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, Allie Long, Mallory Pugh, Jessica McDonald, Morgan Gautrat and Adrianna Franch.
However, one player that’s finally back in action is Tottenham striker Alex Morgan. She’s joined by a cohort of FA WSL stars, including Manchester City duo Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis (who’s joined by sister Kristie) and Manchester United standouts Tobin Heath and Christen Press.
We can’t read Andonovski’s mind — and some of these exclusions have to do with fitness and injuries — but we do know that the group stage of the Olympics kicks off in exactly 246 days, so it’s time to get serious. And it’s worth remembering that unless a change is made to the competition's rules, Olympic roster sizes consist of just 18 players instead of the usual 23. There will be heartbreak.
USWNT Roster 2020 Vs. Netherlands (Club; Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Aubrey Bledsoe (Washington Spirit; 0), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 3), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 63)
DEFENDERS (8): Alana Cook (Paris Saint-Germain; 1/0), Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 61/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 26/1), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 104/24), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 131/2), Margaret Purce (Sky Blue FC; 1/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 177/0), Emily Sonnett (Orlando Pride; 45/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 102/20), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 86/19), Rose Lavelle (Manchester City; 45/12), Catarina Macario (Stanford; 0/0), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 15/1), Samantha Mewis (Manchester City; 67/18)
FORWARDS (6): Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 2/0), Tobin Heath (Manchester United; 168/33), Alex Morgan (Tottenham Hotspur; 169/107), Christen Press (Manchester United; 138/58), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 28/9)