Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Tom Sermanni has selected a veteran squad to feature at the Algarve Cup in Portugal next month.
Though he’s still far from deciding on a roster for the 2015 World Cup, Sermanni on Monday named a 24-player squad for the annual international competition featuring a number of regulars such as Abby Wambach, Christie Rampone, and Hope Solo. However, Alex Morgan will miss out on the competition as she is in the final stages of her recovery from an ankle injury.
“The group we’re in at the Algarve Cup will probably be the most significant test since I’ve come aboard and a different kind of challenge as we will be playing teams that have the belief and aim to come out to attack us and beat us,” Sermanni said in a statement. “The dynamics of these games will be different than some of the more recent matches, and that’s something that we want, that we need and that the players are looking forward to.”
After arriving in Portugal on Feb. 25, the USWNT will play in the tournament from March 5-12, with games scheduled against Japan (March 5), Sweden (March 7), and Denmark (March 10). From there, the U.S. will play its final match of the tournament on March 12, potentially playing for the title depending on how they do in their group.
Fifteen players in the squad were on last year’s Algarve Cup roster, which took home the title for a ninth time in a 2-0 victory against Germany. Making her return to the team is Tobin Heath, who has missed the last eight months of action with either injury or club commitment.
Heath is one of five players joining the USWNT from their clubs in Europe, including Sarah Hagan of Bayern Munich and the Tyresö trio of Christen Press, Whitney Engen, and Meghan Klingenberg.
While there are plenty of veterans on the Algarve Cup roster, Sermanni is giving three players a chance to earn their first caps, as well as recalling Virginia midfielder Morgan Brian. UCLA’s Samantha Killion and Samantha Mewis, Hagan, and reserve goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher are all in line to earn their first USWNT senior international cap.
In addition to Morgan, Lauren Holiday is missing the tournament due to a family commitment and Crystal Dunn was left off as she’s still far from match fitness following an ankle injury.
Here’s a look at the USWNT Algarve Cup roster:
USWNT ALGARVE CUP ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jill Loyden (Sky Blue FC), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (9): Stephanie Cox (Seattle Reign FC), Whitney Engen (Tyresö), Meghan Klingenberg (Tyresö), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kristie Mewis (Boston Breakers), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Rachel Van Hollebeke (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Virginia), Tobin Heath (Paris Saint-Germain), Sarah Killion (UCLA), Carli Lloyd (WNY Flash), Samantha Mewis (UCLA), Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
FORWARDS (5): Sarah Hagen (Bayern Munich), Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Christen Press (Tyresö), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (WNY Flash)
What do you think of this roster? Think the U.S. has a strong chance of defending their title?
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