As the countdowns to the fall’s Concacaf Women’s Championship and next year’s World Cup continue, the U.S. Women’s National Team is perhaps entering the final phase of preparation.
Head coach Jill Ellis has seemingly settled on her main group of players, especially as many of those who spent much of this year on the injury list return to the fold. While Ellis is still clearly tinkering with her lineup, and her midfield in particular, the names on the roster are less of a surprise than they have been.
Even so, the players she relied on during the recent Tournament of Nations, which the U.S. won, are mostly the same players she has played frequently over the last year. Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe continue to record goals and assists, while the likes of Julie Ertz and Tierna Davidson continue to get starts in midfield and defense, respectively.
There are likely a few more alterations to be made in between now and June 2019, but Ellis seems to be happy with most of the pieces of the puzzle, and her squad for France may reflect just that.
Based on the last month, here is this month’s projection:
Projected USWNT 2019 World Cup roster (August 2019 edition)
(Changes from July are in bold; new additions are in bold italics.)
Adrianna Franch, Ashlyn Harris, Alyssa Naeher
Outlook: While Naeher and Harris continue as the undisputed first and second choice goalkeepers, respectively, Ellis is seemingly unsettled on the third. Franch was the selection for the Tournament of Nations, and may have been in the recent past if she was not injured. She continues to impress as the Portland Thorns goalkeeper, making her the leading candidate to join the others in France next year.
Missed the cut: Jane Campbell, Casey Murphy, Abby Smith
Abby Dahlkemper, Tierna Davidson, Crystal Dunn, Kelley O’Hara, Becky Sauerbrunn, Casey Short, Emily Sonnett
Outlook: This group remains unchanged for another month, and is a shining example of Ellis settling on her core group of players. The outlier, though, continues to be the right back spot, where Sonnett has played a majority of the minutes in the spring and summer. Short is only just returning from an injury, and may get more minutes in September friendlies against Chile in what currently seems like a battle between her and the Thorns defender for the spot. Ellis has been picky since the 2016 Olympics, though, so the situation may change a few more times before next year.
Missed the cut: Sofia Huerta, Jaelene Hinkle, Hailie Mace, Merritt Mathias, Tegan McGrady, Margaret Purce, Taylor Smith
Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Carli Lloyd, Allie Long, Samantha Mewis, McCall Zerboni
Outlook: The midfield is also mostly settled, though the backup spots are still up for grabs. Zerboni continues to boost her profile, as Ellis has given her more minutes in the last few months. After her, though, the picks are less predictable. Lloyd, as a co-captain, will likely make the trip to France, and Lavelle’s recovery from a hamstring injury has gone well, as she impressed against Brazil earlier this month. Long’s best attribute is her versatility, and she may come in handy at the World Cup for that reason.
Missed the cut: Morgan Brian, Haley Hanson, Andi Sullivan
Tobin Heath, Alex Morgan, Christen Press, Mallory Pugh, Megan Rapinoe, Amy Rodriguez
Outlook: Many of these players are more or less locks, including Christen Press, who has recently seen an increase in playing time but had a high probability of making the trip to France, barring injury. She has proven her capability on the right side of the forward line, having a particularly strong match against Japan last month. The last spot in this month’s projection goes to Rodriguez, but it may be harder work for her to earn that spot, as she did not play a single minute during the Tournament of Nations. Though she could be useful as an alternative to Morgan, Ellis has yet to find a place for her on the team, and with time running out, may not find one in time.
Missed the cut: Ashley Hatch, Savannah McCaskill, Kealia Ohai, Lynn Williams
Are there any surprise inclusions or exclusions? Sound off in the comments below.