Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By MIKE McCALL
Yesterday’s U.S. women’s national team roster announcement wasn’t much for the dramatic, but there were a few noteworthy developments.
Head coach Tom Sermanni named 21 players who will take part in a training camp before a June 2 showdown with Canada at Toronto’s BMO Field, and there will be three important — if expected — absences.
Goalkeeper Hope Solo and midfielders Megan Rapinoe and Shannon Boxx won’t be around, as Solo (wrist) and Boxx (knee) are recovering from injuries and Rapinoe and Olympique Lyon have not quite finished destroying the rest of Europe in the UEFA Women’s Champions League (they play in the final on Thursday against Wolfsburg).
Of course, that opens the door for others to shine, notably keepers Nicole Barnhart, Ashlyn Harris and Jill Loyden — herself fresh off a broken hand. U.S. Soccer said Solo will be in camp for “some training and evaluation” but won’t play, instead aiming for a return in mid-June, perhaps when the USWNT takes on South Korea on June 15 and 20.
In the midfield, Rapinoe’s absence will be tempered somewhat by the return of Carli Lloyd, who’s back from a broken bone in her shoulder, and others like Tobin Heath and Lauren Cheney should get a chance to fill the void as well.
With Boxx out, it’s worth keeping an eye on Julie Johnston. Many expect the 21-year-old to eventually take over the role of holding midfielder, and while it’s far too early to tell whether she can replace Boxx, this match brings a chance to pick up her third cap and take on top attacking talent like Canadian captain Christine Sinclair.
Amber Brooks will also be worth watching, as the 22-year-old Bayern Munich midfielder gets her first official roster call-up. She’s one of four European-based players to go with two college players and 15 from the National Women’s Soccer League.
Up top, the U.S. will go with Alex Morgan, Christen Press, Sydney Leroux and Abby Wambach, who is just three goals shy of Mia Hamm’s world record for international goals. That’s a crowded group and likely source of both comfort and lineup headaches for Sermanni in the future, and it will be intriguing to see how he deploys them against Canada, whom the U.S. has not lost to since 2001.
Here’s a look at the full roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (FC Kansas City), Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Jill Loyden (Sky Blue FC)
DEFENDERS (8): Rachel Buehler (Portland Thorns FC), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina), Whitney Engen (Liverpool), Julie Johnston (Santa Clara), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Amber Brooks (Bayern Munich), Lauren Cheney (FC Kansas City), Tobin Heath (Paris Saint-Germain), Carli Lloyd (Western NY Flash), Kristie Mewis (FC Kansas City), Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers)
FORWARDS (4): Sydney Leroux (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Tyresö), Abby Wambach (Western NY Flash)
Did anything surprise you? Any names you would have liked to see included? Who are you most looking forward to watching against Canada?
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