Jill Ellis has named the 22 USWNT players who will join the team as they take on Mexico for a pair of April friendlies.
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 17/0), Tierna Davidson (Stanford; 4/0), Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars; 4/0); Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 107/2), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 21/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC: 135/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 15/0)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Morgan Brian (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 72/6), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 47/4), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 250/98), Allie Long (Seattle Reign FC; 35/6), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 9/0)
FORWARDS (7): Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 60/23), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 1/0); Savannah McCaskill (Sky Blue FC; 4/0), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 138/81), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 33/9), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 133/35), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 19/4)
Returning to the roster are Becky Sauerbrunn and Ashley Hatch, while Julie Ertz, Taylor Smith, and Christen Press are out after making the SheBelieves roster. Ertz picked up a knock that kept her out of much of SheBelieves while Smith simply had a discouraging tournament. Hatch was called up to the initial camp before SheBelieves, but did not make the 23-player March roster.
As for Press, Ellis had this to say via official USSF press release:
“At this point Christen is in the process of securing a club team. We’ve had several conversations and she understands our expectations are that a consistent training and match environment for a professional is an important factor for selection into Women’s National Team rosters. Since the SheBelieves Cup, our professional players returned to pre-season training with their clubs and have had multiple scrimmages in preparation for the opening weekend. I am certain that once Christen transitions to a new team, she will embrace being back on the pitch and will help her team be successful.”
This match will be interesting particularly for the defense as Sauerbrunn is returning from injury and Tierna Davidson has made herself look like a real contender for a starting CB position. Will Davidson jump Abby Dahlkemper in the CB depth chart here?
Also, will Sofia Huerta get time against Mexico? You’ll remember that Huerta made a one-time switch from Mexico the United States and is now in the process of working her way out of the fringes of the pool. It’s a good sign for her that Ellis is willing to bring her along and work on converting her to a fullback because the forward pool is quite deep at the moment, but so far she hasn’t had a ton of actual time on the field.
And of course, what will Ellis do with this midfield? Still out of the midfield dealing with injuries: Tobin Heath and Sam Mewis, two vital pieces who were sorely missed during SheBelieves. And once again all named midfielders on this roster tend to operate centrally; will Ellis continue to count on her fullbacks to provide the width and attempt to pin back Mexico’s own wingers and fullbacks?
Guess we’ll all find out together.
USA vs Mexico, game 1
Thursday, April 5, 7 PM ET
EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL
USA vs Mexico, game 2
Sunday, April 8, 1:30 PM ET
BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX