UPDATE: Bachmann was unable to travel with Switzerland and has stayed with Wolfsburg for this game.
The nice thing about the players that USWNT head coach Jill Ellis has called into her latest camp is that, no matter what, someone new is guaranteed to be taking the pitch for the United States when they face Switzerland in a series of two friendlies.
Among the 24 players in camp, Ellis has called up 11 new players total, including eight from NWSL and three still in college.
Technically, Ellis could field an old XI, if she didn’t mind shuffling some positions around. The midfield remains comprised mostly of familiar names like Carli Lloyd, Morgan Brian, and Tobin Heath. But going by position, at the very least we will see at least one new defender and one new forward take the field in this game. Ellis will probably do more than that, possibly even putting out a back four with only Becky Sauerbrunn as the anchor and only recognizable name (unlikely, but wouldn’t that be interesting?).
The midfield looks to be mostly about how Chicago’s Dani Colaprico can integrate with the likes of Lloyd and Heath. As for forwards, it’s probably a sure bet that Lynn Williams, fresh off a championship-winning performance for Western New York, will get a shot, with Houston’s Kealia Ohai right behind her.
Goalkeeper is also going to be a position to watch. Even though it’ll probably still come down to Alyssa Naeher vs Ashlyn Harris and none for Jane Campbell, now at least one of them is guaranteed to get more playing time. This is probably a good opportunity for Ellis to once again split games between Naeher and Harris, especially as they’ll play the same opponent twice, giving her steadier ground to evaluate their performances against each other.
Out of all the new players, Colaprico is certainly one to watch, though she’s possibly fighting for the spot over relatively deep competition between Brian, Long, Mewis, and Horan, unless Ellis suddenly wants to consider letting Horan and Long push higher on the field on a consistent basis. Williams is also in the same boat of watchable but fighting for a spot when the position is relatively deep.
As for Switzerland, they’re coming off some solid Euro 2017 qualifying wins, most recently 4-0 over Northern Ireland. They’ve got some talented players, although the one must-watch, Ramona Bachmann, won’t be available to play.
Still, Switzerland has Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic, though she may suffer from not having Bachmann there to open up space for her, and Lara Dickenmann in the midfield picking out runners. Should a new defender start on the right for the U.S., Dickenmann is a pretty good first test.
All in all, Switzerland is just the right opponent to test out a roster that will probably be a good half-and-half mix of old and new. They’re able to threaten and possess creatively, but they’re not outright terrifying like a Germany or Japan at their peak. They’re definitely not a cupcake team who will let in goals regardless of how disorganized the United States is on their end, allowing Ellis to get an actual sense of how her new players would perform in a non-friendly situation.
USA vs Switzerland kicks off at 9 PM ET on Wednesday, October 19 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. It will air live on ESPN2.