Jill Ellis has named the United States' roster for the International Tournament of Brasilia, and it is loaded. All 20 players from the Americans' World Cup qualifying roster are heading to Brazil along with four others, making a 24-woman team.
Joining the 20 women who were on the qualifying roster are Crystal Dunn, Alussa Naeher, Samantha Mewis and Lori Chalupny. Dunn was originally on the qualifying team, but had to withdraw after suffering an injury. Naeher gives the team some goalkeeping depth and Mewis is one of the brightest young players in the system, having played for U.S. youth teams, dominated at UCLA and even earned two caps with the senior team this year.
The addition of Chalupny is most interesting because she was a fixture with the U.S. until 2009. That is when she suffered a concussion with the national team and U.S. Soccer doctors barred her from playing. She was eventually cleared by other doctors, including those with NWSL, where she has been a standout for the Chicago Red Stars, but had not asked for a new evaluation from U.S. Soccer. In August, she did and she was cleared, paving the way for her return to the national team.
With Chalupny back in the fold, the U.S. could have solved a couple problems. The first is a dependable holding midfielder who can play from deeper. Ellis has put Lauren Holiday there, but she has not only struggled at times, she has been pulled from her normal attacking midfield position, where she may be the best in the world. With Chalupny in the team, Ellis has the option of putting her in the midfield and shoring up the deeper spot, while also moving Holiday forward and maximizing arguably the teams best player.
The International Tournament of Brasilia is a four-team competition in the Brazilian capital featuring the U.S., Argentina, China and host Brazil. It will replace the December training camp that the U.S. normally has, instead giving them four matches to go along with training. The U.S. plays their first game on December 10 against China, followed by a match-up with Brazil on the 14th before taking on Argentina on December 17. The top two teams will then play a championship match on December 21, while the other two teams will play for third place.
Goalkeepers: Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
Defenders: Lori Chalupny (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (WNY Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
Midfielders: Morgan Brian (Virginia), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (UCLA), Heather O'Reilly (FC Kansas City), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
Forwards: Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (WNY Flash)