Tobin Heath has been ruled out of the United States’ April friendlies against Russia with a minor back injury. There was some speculation that Heath wasn’t match fit as she hasn’t been suiting up for the Portland Thorns either while they play a preseason tournament.
Heath now joins fellow midfielders Morgan Brian and Lindsey Horan on the injured list, leaving Jill Ellis with a 22-player roster which she will cut down to 18 for both games.
Ellis did call up Jaelin Howell from the U23s to replace Horan. So why doesn’t she pick through the U23 ranks to find one more young player who would benefit from being in camp with the senior WNT? The first friendly is April 6 and the U23s have one more game in Portland against Chicago on April 1. It’s unlikely Howell is making the final roster of 18; this call up is probably more about getting young players a taste of the expectations of senior WNT camp. Why not two? Perhaps Ellis is wary of disrupting the schedules of college students who were expecting to return to school but surely anyone in the U23 pool by now knows how to navigate a sudden schedule change due to soccer.
The roster as it now stands is below:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
DEFENDERS (6): Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Megan Oyster (Boston Breakers), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado), Rose Lavelle (Boston Breakers), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash/Manchester City), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
FORWARDS (7): Crystal Dunn (Chelsea Ladies FC), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride/Olympique Lyonnais, FRA), Kealia Ohai (Houston Dash), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (UCLA), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Lynn Williams (NC Courage)
USA will kick off their first game against Russia on April 6 at 8:30 PM ET at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The game will air live on FS1.