USSF has released the 20-player roster for CONCACAF Olympic qualifying, which takes place from February 10 - 21 in Frisco and Houston.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (7): Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash)
FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)
The United States has been drawn into Group A with Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Group B consists of Canada, Guatemala, Guyana, andTrinidad & Tobago.
Of note, midfielder Heather O'Reilly and defender Whitney Engen have been left off the roster. O'Reilly has seen her time dwindle of late, with the attack through the right midfield being filled more often than not by Stephanie McCaffrey. O'Reilly is still a valuable presence with an incomparable engine though, so depending on performance she may not be out for the count.
Engen was already a bubble player, not playing a game in the World Cup and seeing extremely limited time during the following Victory Tour. Many thought Engen would act as a solid backup for Becky Sauerbrunn during qualifying, but it seems head coach Jill Ellis wants to look to rookie Emily Sonnett to add depth at center back.
Sydney Leroux made the race for forward slightly easier when she announced her pregnancy, although 17-year-old Mallory Pugh was already gunning hard for a roster spot with the wholehearted approval of USSF staff, and is now the youngest player ever named to a US Olympic qualifying roster. But with Leroux and Amy Rodriguez both announcing pregnancies in 2016, forward may have been one of the easier positions for Ellis to wrestle over in the end.
Seven out of this 20-player roster were not at the World Cup as the USWNT continues its roster turnover in the wake of retirements and injuries. This list is still not definitive, however. After Olympic qualifiers - which, realistically, should not be problematic for the United States - there remains a four-team mini-tournament from March 3 - 9 involving England, France, and Germany which should provide the kind of stiff competition that makes for a more valuable predictor in picking an Olympic roster.
The final Olympic roster will be 18 players; with as many as eight games between now and the Olympics, Ellis will have plenty of time to evaluate her options.