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Jill Ellis cuts Hinkle and Ohai for final Tournament of Nations roster

25 become 23 to face Australia, Brazil, and Japan.

Soccer: International Friendly Women’s Soccer-Romania at USA Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Jill Ellis named her initial 25-player Tournament of Nations roster with the intention of cutting it to 23 after an early camp that called USWNT players away from their NWSL teams before the start of the planned league break. Ellis has now decided to cut Jaelene Hinkle and Kealia Ohai from the pool, leaving the following roster:

GOALKEEPERS (3): 21-Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), 24-Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 16/0), 1-Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 29/0)

DEFENDERS (6): 7-Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 19/0), 12-Tierna Davidson (Stanford; 8/0), 11-Merritt Mathias (NC Courage; 1/0), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 139/0), 14-Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 21/0), 22-Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 17/0)

MIDFIELDERS (8): 6-Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 75/6), 2-Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 61/15), 9-Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 51/5), 16-Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 8/2), 10-Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 254/100), 3-Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 36/7), 20-Allie Long (Seattle Reign FC; 39/6), 5-McCall Zerboni (NC Courage; 2/0)

FORWARDS (6): 19-Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 64/23), 17-Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 133/19), 13-Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 142/86), 23-Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 100/44), 15-Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 137/37), 8-Amy Rodriguez (Utah Royals FC; 131/30)

Hinkle’s cut may point to Ellis simply rating Casey Short in the left back position - Short has spent more time with the team, and has never declined a call-up. Perhaps there were coherency issues, or Hinkle’s presence was a disruption in the locker room. Whatever the reason, the remaining fullbacks in camp are Mathias and Short, with Crystal Dunn an option for Ellis to keep in her back pocket. Ellis may also consider scooting a center back out wide, or playing a 3-5-2 formation. Dunn got some time at both left and right back in the team’s last two friendlies against China, while Tierna Davidosn also played wide. Hinkle will be available for the North Carolina Courage as they play in the International Champions Cup in Miami from July 26-29, competing against Olympique Lyonnais, Manchester City, and Paris Saint-Germain.

Ohai’s cut was probably a slightly lesser surprise, even assuming Dunn was going to get shifted into a fullback position. Ohai has been playing at left forward for Houston, a position that is pretty solidly Megan Rapinoe’s at the moment while the team plays in a 4-3-3. Tobin Heath has also slid into that role, and even Alex Morgan has played there in a front three with Carli Lloyd and Christen Press, which doesn’t leave a ton of room for Ohai to elbow her way in.

Tournament of Nations kicks off on July 26 with Brazil vs Australia, followed by USA vs Japan.

USA vs Japan
Thursday, July 26