The United States has named its team for a pair of friendlies against France and it is headlined by the return of Alex Morgan. The U.S. forward hasn't played for club or country since injuring her foot last September, but she is back, as is Shannon Shannon Boxx, who has been out since becoming pregnant with her newborn child.
These are Jill Ellis' first matches as permanent U.S. manager, having only held the post on an interim basis before, and she will take some heat for picking Morgan and Boxx. Neither has played a single minute in the NWSL this season and many hoped that they would get fit with their club teams before joining up with the U.S. It's possible neither plays in the France friendlies, but it will be worth watching because both are newly fit, and just how fit they are remains a question.
The 26-woman squad looks pretty normal, with the Morgan and Boxx inclusions aside. All of the big names are in the squad except for Megan Rapinoe, who continues to battle a foot injury. The decision to call in seven strikers is surprising, especially considering Abby Wambach, Sydney Leroux, Christen Press and Morgan give the U.S. four proven options, but Ellis wants to get more looks at more players, apparently.
Goalkeepers: Nicole Barnhart (FC Kansas City), Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
Defenders: Stephanie Cox (Seattle Reign FC), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (Houston Dash), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
Midfielders: Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), Morgan Brian (Virginia), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Carli Lloyd (WNY Flash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Kristie Mewis (Boston Breakers), Heather O'Reilly (Boston Breakers)
Forwards: Sarah Hagen (FC Kansas City), Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (WNY Flash)