With no more friendlies left until Olympic roster reveal – which forwards will Emma Hayes bring to Paris?

United States women’s national team head coach Emma Hayes oversaw her first two games in charge and now must make the 18-player Olympic roster. One topic being hotly debated is who to bring as the forwards?

Perhaps a more appropriate question is how many forwards to bring? The USWNT has an Olympic-sized swimming pool kind of depth in attack. With only 18 players set to be on the plane to Paris, the decision is cutthroat.

Hayes led the USWNT to 4-0 and 3-0 victories against South Korea earlier this month and utilized all her forwards across the two games. 

The USWNT Olympic roster predictions following the two friendlies have an elephant in the room: Alex Morgan is the big question mark.

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USA Today, The Athletic and Bleacher Report shared their USWNT Olympic roster predictions following the games against South Korea. All three predictions included forwards/attacking midfielders Mallory Swanson, Sophia Smith, Trinity Rodman, Catarina Macario and Jaedyn Shaw.

USA Today made the bold decision to omit Morgan from their Olympic squad prediction. 

Morgan, who recently returned from an ankle injury, didn’t feature in the first friendly vs. South Korea but started the next game. While she didn’t find the back of net, she was involved in the buildup of the first goal.

Hayes had positive remarks about Morgan’s 61 minutes against South Korea.

“I thought she worked across the width of the box really well, linked up in the right moments,” Hayes said after the game. “Alex is a top professional. She really is, I’ve seen that all week and someone who cares deeply about this team and cares deeply about improving and getting better.”

If Hayes does bring Morgan to Paris, then the USWNT will bring a litany of attacking-minded players to the Olympics.

Rose Lavelle and Crystal Dunn have also been used in more forward roles with the latter starting in attack in the second friendly. How Hayes balances the roster without being short-staffed in other areas will be interesting to see.

The USWNT Olympic roster (and four alternate players) is expected to be announced in the coming weeks. That 18-player squad will then play two sendoff friendlies vs. Mexico and Costa Rica in July.

The Stars and Stripes will face Zambia, Germany and Australia in the group stage of the Olympics. The first game will be against Zambia on July 25.

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