Vlatko Andonovski has named his 23-player roster for the USWNT friendly against Netherlands at the end of November.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Aubrey Bledsoe, Jane Campbell, Alyssa Naeher
DEFENDERS (8): Alana Cook, Abby Dahlkemper, Crystal Dunn, Tierna Davidson, Kelley O’Hara, Margaret Purce, Becky Sauerbrunn, Emily Sonnett
MIDFIELDERS (6): Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Catarina Macario, Kristie Mewis, Samantha Mewis
FORWARDS (6): Ashley Hatch, Tobin Heath, Alex Morgan, Christen Press, Sophia Smith, Lynn Williams
Notable additions include Aubrey Bledsoe, Alana Cook, Catarina Macario, Ashley Hatch, and Kristie Mewis. An important note, however, according to USSF’s media release: “As the process allowing Macario to be eligible to represent the USA in a full international match has not yet been completed, she will not be on the game day roster.”
Bledsoe has been among the best goalkeepers in NWSL for a while and is deservedly getting added to the GK pool. Alana Cook seems to be earning more time under Andonovski’s watch, and her inclusion is a logisitical no-brainer given her place at PSG. It’s also a return to the stage for Kristie Mewis, once considered a mostly solid part of the WNT midfield roster, but now working her way back in from the fringes. She’ll be reunited with sister Sam. Last, but not least of the notables, is Ashley Hatch, who, in a flip of Bledsoe’s situation, has at times played herself out of a job with her NWSL performances.
Notably left off the roster are Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger, and Megan Rapinoe. Harris has long been the #2 in goal, when she wasn’t actively fighting for #1 with Naeher. It’s too soon to read too much into bringing along Bledsoe and Campbell, but surely with such uncertain playing opportunities ahead of the Olympics, there’s at least some writing on the wall here. Krieger is less of a surprise; though she’s made a nice transition to center back for Orlando, she is slowing down and her phaseout had to happen sometime. As for Rapinoe, it may simply be a matter of her still needing to rest and recover. The effort of the 2019 World Cup did seem to take every last ounce out of Rapinoe, and if she wants to make it to the Olympics, the benefit of rest could outweigh the stress on her body of camp and a friendly.
How do you feel about the roster? Is this as good a time as any to phase out veterans for younger players? Let us know in the comments!