Newly-appointed U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Vlatko Andonovski has named his first roster, calling up 24 players for a training camp prior to the USA’s final two matches of the year, against Sweden on Nov. 7 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1 & TUDN) and against Costa Rica on Nov. 10 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. (8 p.m. ET on ESPN2 & TUDN). Tickets for both games are on sale through ussoccer.com.
“This first camp is short with two good games at the end, so after just being hired officially a few days ago, I personally don’t have a lot of time to prepare for the camp or implement any major changes,” said Andonovski. “Mostly, this is a great opportunity for me to get to know the players, get to know the system, and start building relationships. If there is one goal that I want to accomplish in this first camp is to change the focus from the World Cup and the Victory Tour. It was a tremendous summer for this team, but now the approach is different. We have new goals and the most important thing is to shift the mentality and start moving forward because Olympic qualifying is just around the corner.”
Andonovski named 17 players from the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup roster along with seven other players that include three first-time call-ups. Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe, who had a fine season with the Washington Spirit and was named to the NWSL Best XI, defender Alana Cook, a former Stanford star who is playing in France with Paris Saint-Germain, and defender Imani Dorsey, who was the NWSL Rookie of the Year in 2018 for Sky Blue FC while playing mostly in attacking positions, have all played with the U.S. Under-23 WNT but will see their first training camp action with the senior side.
In addition, defender Casey Short and midfielder Andi Sullivan return to the roster. Both were called up for the final games of the Victory Tour in early October. Forwards Lynn Williams and Margaret “Midge” Purce also return to a camp roster. Williams has 19 caps and four international goals but has not played for the USA since the 2018 SheBelieves Cup and the uncapped Purce has not been in with the USA since the summer of 2018.
“First, I want to make sure that everyone on the World Cup Team has an opportunity to work with me and give me an opportunity to see them and see what stage of their game they’re at right now,” said Andonovski. “But at the same time, I think it’s crucial that we give a chance to players that have done well for their pro teams and deserve to have a good look and a solid evaluation in the National Team environment. We have quite a few injured players from the World Cup Team, and they need to rest and get healthy. Also, we wanted to add players that weren’t at the World Cup because the main goal from the start is to grow the player pool.”
Five players from the 2019 World Cup Team were not available for selection due to injuries in defenders Kelley O’Hara, Ali Krieger, Crystal Dunn and Tierna Davidson, and forward Megan Rapinoe. Forward Alex Morgan recently announced that she was pregnant with her first child. O’Hara, Krieger, Dunn, Davidson and Rapinoe will attend the first few days of training camp as Andonovski greets and works with the team for the first time but will then depart camp to continue their rehabilitations.
Andonovski will name 18 players to suit up for each match.
U.S. WNT Roster – Sweden & Costa Rica Friendlies (Club; Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (4): Aubrey Bledsoe (Washington Spirit; 0/0), Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 3/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 23/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 56/0)
DEFENDERS (6): Alana Cook (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA; 0/0), Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 52/0), Imani Dorsey (Sky Blue FC; 0/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 169/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 30/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 38/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 86/7), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 93/19), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 77/12), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 36/10), Allie Long (Reign FC; 50/8), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 59/14), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 13/0)
FORWARDS (7): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 160/32), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 286/118), Jessica McDonald (NC Courage; 13/2), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 128/49), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 60/18), Margaret Purce (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 19/4)
The USA has compiled an 18-1-3 record so far in 2019, with the only loss coming in the first match of the year, against France in Le Havre.
Cincinnati native Rose Lavelle returns to her home state for the match in Columbus.
Morgan Brian played most of her youth career in Jacksonville for the Ponte Vedra Soccer Club, which is now the United Soccer Alliance.
Four players – Samantha Mewis, Abby Dahlkemper, Jessica McDonald and Lynn Williams – come into camp having helped the North Carolina Courage win its second consecutive NWSL title this past weekend. Mewis and McDonald scored in the 4-0 victory over the Chicago Red Stars.
The meeting with Sweden, which is ranked fifth in the world after its third-place finish at the World Cup this summer, comes less than five months after the teams met in the final Group F match at the Women’s World Cup in Le Havre, a 2-0 victory for the Americans on goals from Lindsey Horan and a Sweden own goal that was created by Tobin Heath.
Sweden has begun its qualifying for the 2021 UEFA Women’s Euro, to be staged in England, downing Latvia 4-1 in September, then routing Hungary (5-0) and Slovakia (7-0) in October.
The USA has faced Costa Rica 14 times, all victories, with nine of those games coming in Concacaf qualifying competitions. The USA has faced Costa Rica in all four of the Concacaf Olympic Qualifying tournaments that have been held. The 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament will be staged early next year. Costa Rica is ranked 38th in the world.
The U.S. Women have a long history in Columbus, Ohio at the first major soccer-specific stadium built in the USA. The USA first played at what is now MAPFRE Stadium after the 1999 Women’s World Cup and has played eight total matches there over the years, including a 3-0 victory against North Korea during the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The U.S. Women also have a long history in Jacksonville, dating back to 1996, but this will be just the fourth match played at what is now TIAA Bank Stadium. The USA last visited Jacksonville in April of 2018 for a 4-0 victory against Mexico.
The match in Jacksonville will conclude the 35th year of international competition for the U.S. Women’s National Team.
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