Having already announced two friendlies at the end of November against Australia, the only thing left for USWNT fans to watch out for was which 22 players Vlatko Andonovski would select for the trip “down under”.
Today, the USWNT head coach announced his roster which includes ten members from the Olympic roster and the remaining 12 have five uncapped players in amongst them.
In a statement that came with the release drop, Andonovski noted that this selection came about because there are still a few notable players out with injuries. Andonovski also stated that as a team, they have “turned the page towards 2023 World Cup qualifying” and we wants to use this opportunity to test “young players in environments filled with adversity”.
Uncapped players looking to rise to the occasion
Bethany Balcer, Bella Bixby, Casey Murphy, Ashley Sanchez and Morgan Weaver will all have a chance to earn their first national team caps during this series. All but Bixby have been previously looked at by the coaching stuff at various USWNT ID camps and due to those camps, and their performances in the NWSL, have been brought into the full roster for these friendlies.
Bixby and Murphy have been stellar for both their teams and helped them reach the NWSL playoffs this year. Balcer finished second in the scoring charts during the regular season while Ashley Sanchez and Morgan Weaver have all impressed at various points throughout the season.
Andonovski continues to show that club form matters
The above players are all examples of what having a good season with your club team can mean for your chances with the USWNT. Along with them, players like Alana Cook, Sofia Huerta, Ashley Hatch and Midge Purce have all regained their place within the coaching staff’s collective thoughts due to their club form.
Ashley Hatch finished the regular season as the top goalscorer in the NWSL and is in the running for the MVP award. Midge Purce, who is also in the running for the MVP award, missed some time due to injury but her form before and after the injury lay off have more than earned her a place back in the USWNT roster.
Alana Cook and Sofia Huerta have also been impressive for their club team, OL Reign. Cook is in the running for the Defender of the Year award and despite only playing at right back for less than half the season, Huerta has shown glimpses of the style of outside back Andonovski prefers in his system.
All of the above players helped their teams reach the NWSL playoffs with their performances and with spaces available due to injuries and absences to regular faces on the USWNT roster, Vlatko Andonovski has taken advantage of that and rewarded these players with the chance to cement themselves on the USWNT.
The full 22-player roster is listed below:
Goalkeepers (3): Bella Bixby (Portland Thorns FC), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage).
Defenders (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign), Abby Dahlkemper (Houston Dash), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit).
Midfielders (6): Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyonnais), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit).
Forwards (6): Bethany Balcer (OL Reign), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage), Morgan Weaver (Portland Thorns FC).