Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
U.S. Women’s National Team interim head coach Jill Ellis named a 22-player squad on Wednesday for the USA’s friendly match vs. Canada on May 8 in Winnipeg, Canada.
The squad features 18 players currently playing in the National Women’s Soccer League and Ellis’ selection includes goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris making her return to the squad and call-ups for Portland Thorns midfielder Allie Long and defender Nikki Marshall. Both Long and Marshall have started the NWSL season in fine form and are in line for their first USWNT cap.
“With World Cup qualifying in less than six months, each game against a quality opponent is significant for this group, but no question playing Canada in Canada stirs the emotions and gives it greater meaning,” Ellis said in a press release. “We have been scouting the NWSL games, and we have some injuries, so I think the roster is indicative of some of the top performers playing in the league at the moment. I am looking forward to getting the group to Winnipeg and having a few days of prep before the match.”
Outside of the NWSL, Ellis called up the three USWNT players currently at Tyresö in Sweden, Christen Press, Whitney Engen and Meghan Klingenberg, as well as selecting up and coming star Morgan Brian out of the University of Virginia.
The squad is equally notable for it’s absences. Missing out due to injury are Alex Morgan, Kristie Mewis, Megan Rapinoe, and Rachel Van Hollebeke. Tobin Heath will remain with Paris-Saint Germain in France.
The U.S. has an all-time record of 47-3-5 against Canada and defeated the Canadians, 1-0, in the USWNT’s first match of 2014. Canadian-born USWNT forward Sydney Leroux scored the game-winning-goal for the USA.
Hope Solo remains the first choice goalkeeper under Ellis and could tie Brianna Scurry’s record mark of 70 shutouts if Solo holds a clean sheet against Canada.
Here is the USWNT squad called-up to face Canada:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Jill Loyden (Sky Blue FC), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (9): Stephanie Cox (Seattle Reign FC), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (Tyresö), Meghan Klingenberg (Tyresö), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Nikki Marshall (Portland Thorns FC), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Virginia), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Carli Lloyd (WNY Flash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers)
FORWARDS (4): Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Christen Press (Tyresö), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (WNY Flash)
What do you think of this squad? Think the U.S. has a great chance to win in Canada? Do you see Long and Marshall coming off the bench? Do you see Leroux starting over Wambach again?
Share your thoughts below.