USWNT roster for World Cup, Olympic qualifiers released

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Vlatko Andonovski, coach of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, used the past six months to test young players and gain a better understanding of his talent pool before the World Cup and Olympic qualifying tournament this summer.

Although some veterans were left out of that process, Andonovski swore they were still in the mix. On Monday, he recalled two of them, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, who will help anchor the 23-player squad at the Concacaf W Championship July 4-18 in Monterrey, Mexico.

The eight-team tournament will decide four automatic berths in the 2023 World Cup and one in the 2024 Olympics. (Another Olympic berth will be settled next year.)

First, though, the Americans will play friendlies against Colombia on June 25 in suburban Denver and June 28 in greater Salt Lake City.

Rapinoe and Morgan have not been with the top-ranked U.S. squad since October. While Morgan was an obvious selection — she leads the National Women’s Soccer League with nine goals — Rapinoe has yet to start an NWSL match this season.

Morgan, a striker, has scored 115 goals in 190 U.S. matches, while Rapinoe, a left wing, has 62 in 187. Both have won two World Cup titles and an Olympic gold medal.

“Since we were last together in April, we’ve been evaluating a lot of games and hours of video and have had extensive conversations among the coaching staff,” Andonovski said in a written statement. “As usual, the players don’t make these decisions easy, but we feel this is a roster that can accomplish all of our goals over the four weeks we will be together.”

He was scheduled to speak with reporters Monday afternoon.

Defender Becky Sauerbrunn, 37, is also back after recovering from a knee injury. World Cup veterans Alyssa Naeher, Kelley O’Hara, Emily Sonnett, Rose Lavelle and Lindsey Horan were selected, as well. However, 13 players have never competed in qualifiers.

The Washington Spirit, defending NWSL champions mired in a 10-game winless streak, will have seven representatives: O’Hara, Sonnett, goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury, midfielders Andi Sullivan and Ashley Sanchez, and forwards Trinity Rodman and Ashley Hatch. No other NWSL team has more than four.

The biggest surprise was San Diego Wave midfielder Taylor Kornieck, a third-year pro invited to her first senior camp. Seven others have appeared in fewer than 10 international matches.

Many regulars were not available because of injury (Catarina Macario, Sam Mewis, Lynn Williams, Tierna Davidson and Abby Dahlkemper) or maternity leave (Crystal Dunn, Julie Ertz and Casey Krueger).

Tobin Heath and Christen Press, immensely experienced forwards, were not selected. Injuries have limited Heath to 17 league matches in the past two years. Press suffered a knee injury Saturday, but even if healthy, she wouldn’t have been included on the squad.

Goalkeepers: Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars).

Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Kelley O’Hara (Washington), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns), Emily Sonnett (Washington).

Midfielders: Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyonnais), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington), Andi Sullivan (Washington).

Forwards: Ashley Hatch (Washington), Alex Morgan (San Diego), Midge Purce (Gotham FC), Mallory Pugh (Chicago), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington), Sophia Smith (Portland).

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