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USWNT forced into defensive shuffle with Crystal Dunn out, Julie Johnston in

The United States women will go into qualifying with one fewer fullback and one more central defender than planned.

Jen Fuller

Jill Ellis has been forced into a shuffle just one day before the United States women's national team plays their first match of World Cup qualifying. Fullback Crystal Dunn has been forced out of the squad with a right knee injury, and will be replaced by central defender Julie Johnston.

Because Johnston was one of the final cuts for this squad, she's been training with the team very recently and shouldn't have a problem picking up tactics or blending in. Ellis initially opted to take four fullbacks and three central defenders among her seven defenders, but will now have the opposite.

Johnston played central defense exclusively for the Chicago Red Stars this season, while Dunn is a very attacking fullback, so it's nowhere near a direct swap. There wasn't an equivalent to Dunn in the player pool that's been capped recently, but Stephanie Cox is the player not on the roster that has started a game at fullback most recently.

Dunn was likely to be Ali Krieger's backup at right back, so this shouldn't change the starting XI at all. The starting left back slot will continue to be a battle between Kelley O'Hara and Meghan Klingenberg, while Johnston is likely to be the fourth central defender in the pecking order.