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What we learned from the USA vs Japan friendlies

The US played (almost) two high level games against Japan

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The United States got in its final prep friendlies before the Olympics; now all that's left is to play out their NWSL games and some farewell friendlies against South Africa before the leave for Rio.

Despite the second game getting called for weather in the 76', enough time passed in that game to assemble a fairly decent picture of the state of the WNT as they head towards their final Olympic roster.

Here's what we learned from that one and 5/6 of a game.

Jill Ellis knows her final roster

Based on who she asked to dress for the games and who was chilling in the VIP boxes, here's a projected roster of 18 for the Olympics:

Goalkeepers: Hope Solo, Alyssa Naeher

Defenders: Ali Krieger, Kelley O'Hara, Becky Sauerbrunn, Julie Johnston, Meghan Klingenberg, Whitney Engen

Midfielders: Morgan Brian, Lindsey Horan, Allie Long, Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath, Samantha Mewis

Forwards: Christen Press, Alex Morgan, Crystal Dunn, Mallory Pugh

The main questions here are at center back in terms of Whitney Engen vs Emily Sonnett, and if Megan Rapinoe will come back from her ACL injury in time. If Rapinoe does make it back, odds are probably good Samantha Mewis takes a hit on the roster, or possibly even Mallory Pugh.

Carli Lloyd might be the weirdest great player alive but we're gonna need her

Yes, the United States scored a lot without her. Yes, the midfield managed to create and work the ball into good position for Alex Morgan. In fact, the midfield looked pretty good at times sans Lloyd, and the US had some good fluid possession.

But in games like the 3-3 tie against Japan, Lloyd is the player who overcomes or even prevents that scenario. You need someone to break a stalemate with some kind of crazy 25-yard strike? That's Carli Lloyd's bread and butter, and somehow, some way, she is going to do that for the United States in Brazil, whether you like it or not.

Becky Sauerbrunn is not perfect (please don't hurt me)

Sauerbrunn had some bad moments in both games. And even though she's allowed to have bad moments just like any other player, it was compounded by her not always being able to count on Julie Johnston to clean up behind her. Usually it's the other way around - Johnston has the freedom to push forward or take a risk because Sauerbrunn is waiting patiently behind her with a broom and dustpan.

But it seems like the tinkering - O'Hara taking a starting spot from Krieger, the switching of sides whenever Krieger does come on - has chiseled a little bit of instability into the back line. So it's not so much that Becky Sauerbrunn no longer seems to be 100% an infallable god-player sent to rescue us from our own mistakes and regrets, it's that the back line is not the same one we counted on last summer to keep the United States in it when everything else was going wrong. Between Sauerbrunn only being 99% instead of, as the kids say, 100, and Meghan Klingenberg's tendency to dash off in an overlap with Tobin Heath never mind the counter, and Johnston not properly covering for Sauerbrunn, there's a few more gaps for other teams to exploit.

Crystal Dunn, Mallory Pugh, and Tobin Heath all hold the keys to unlocking Alex Morgan

Tobin Heath and Crystal Dunn both lead NWSL in assists, with five and four respectively. Heath has one goal in five games played and Dunn has none, but that doesn't really matter, because of them have taken on the responsibility of being creative engines and workhorses. With Heath on the left and Dunn on the right (and assuming Heath can stay consistent; Dunn is less so a worry there), that's two very potent wide players going forward.

Meanwhile, Mallory Pugh has two goals and six assists on the year and leads the team in assists. She's not even the future of the team - she is the now of the team, and there are a lot of very good arguments for taking her to the Olympics, balanced against a few for leaving her behind.

So you've got Pugh, Heath, and Dunn, all in support of Alex Morgan, and it shows. Heath and Pugh both fed Morgan for her two goals against Japan in the first game, and Dunn helped Morgan add a third to her overall tally in the series in the second game.

Whether the situation calls for set piece or open play, these three got you.

So the United States looks like it's decent shape as we approach the Olympics. There's one or two roster questions, but nothing too byzantine. Ellis should be making an announcement some time in early July, and then it's a matter of keeping everyone healthy until August. That's plenty of time to tweak players and get Carli Lloyd back in the groove.

Let us know in the comments who you think should go to Brazil and why.