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Jill Ellis names 25 player roster for Japan friendlies

Not too many surprises on this roster.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

USWNT head coach Jill Ellis has named the 25 players she will call into camp ahead of two June friendlies against Japan.

GOALKEEPERS (4): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)

DEFENDERS (10): Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Gina Lewandowski (FC Bayern Munich), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Heather O'Reilly (FC Kansas City)

FORWARDS (4): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)

Players will enter camp on May 27 in Denver, then play their June 2 and June 5 games.

This roster has two more spots than the last one against Colombia, making room for goalkeeper A.D. Franch and defenders Christie Rampone and Gina Lewandowski while dropping forward Ashley Sanchez.

Additionally, Carli Lloyd is absent as she continues to rehab an MCL injury sustained with the Houston Dash, with Rose Lavelle invited to fill that spot on the roster.

Christie Rampone's presence could be more indicative of US Soccer wanting to send her off well rather than any chance she'll actually make the Olympic roster; giving a her a goodbye against a rival like Japan would only be right for someone who has served the team so well for so long.

Lewandowski's inclusion is a bit of puzzler based on Ellis' comments that she wants to look at upcoming rosters in terms of transitioning the team to being ready for 2019. Lewandowski is already 31 and despite doing well in Germany, would not be many people's first option for building defensive depth over the next four years.

Calling in players on the 27th means NWSL teams will be missing players for that weekend of play despite promises from the league that calendars had been arranged to avoid clashes with international play. Players will be coming to Denver straight from their clubs after five weeks' worth of games, which begs the question of why Ellis needs those extra days instead of calling everyone in on the 30th. Perhaps she felt that three days of team practice before facing Japan would not be enough, and rather than leaving some clubs with national team players and some teams without, opted to just remove everyone from their clubs ahead of the weekend.

Though Japan has recently become the United States' most fearsome foe after clashing with them in the last three major tournament finals, they petered out in AFC Olympic qualifying and ended up not earning a berth to Rio, which certainly shifts some of the pressure to the United States for these friendlies. Then again, Japan has a new coach, Asako Takakura, after veteran leader Norio Sasaki resigned, and they'll also be looking to revamp their program and fight back towards competitiveness.

USA kicks off against Japan for their first game on Thursday, June 2 at 9 PM ET at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO. The game will air on Fox Sports 1.