clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The 2023 USWNT World Cup roster post-release reaction

We have our final roster set in place for this summer’s tournament and what it means for the USWNT’s chances of making it a three-peat

Ireland v United States

This morning, Vlatko Andonovksi announced his 23-player roster that will be headed to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup this July in Australia and New Zealand. Among the names dropped, 14 players (Casey Murphy, Aubrey Kingsbury, Alana Cook, Emily Fox, Naomi Girma, Sofia Huerta, Savannah DeMelo, Kristie Mewis, Ashley Sanchez, Andi Sullivan, Trinity Rodman, Sophia Smith, Alyssa Thompson and Lynn Williams) will be possibly making their first ever World Cup appearances while nine players (Alyssa Naeher, Crystal Dunn, Kelley O’Hara, Emily Sonnett, Julie Ertz, Rose Lavelle, Lindsey Horan, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan) will be making at least their second appearance at a World Cup.

During the press conference after the roster was released, Andonovski did mention that their was an alternate players list, which wouldn’t be made public, but those players will be on standby until the deadline for submitting rosters.

Looking at the roster, quite a few questions remain in all areas of the pitch. For example, Rose Lavelle and Megan Rapinoe are currently injured and haven’t featured for their club team, OL Reign, that often this season in the National Women’s Soccer League. Based on their inclusion to this roster, the coaching and medial staff for the USWNT must feel that both players are fully fit, not necessarily match fit, to make an impact at the World Cup.

Another question will be who will be replacing Becky Sauerbrunn as the captain and leader of this team? Recently, Sauerbrunn had announced that she would not be able to come back from her injury in time for the World Cup and thus would miss out on the tournament. No official announcement has been made yet about who will be the new captain of the team however likely candidates could be Alex Morgan, Lindsey Horan, Kelley O’Hara or Megan Rapinoe. Sauerbrunn’s exclusion will also raise a question mark at the back where possibly Naomi Girma will be partnering Alana Cook for the first time at a major tournament. Not having someone as experienced as Sauerbrunn around may hurt the USWNT but Andonovski clearly believes in the defenders he’s chosen and their ability to hold their own this summer against some of the best in the world.

Germany v United States - Women’s International Friendly Photo by Howard Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Surprise inclusions in this roster include those of Alyssa Thompson and Savannah DeMelo. Thompson is less of a surprise that DeMelo due to the amount of injuries the USWNT have had up front (Mal Swanson, Cat Macario, etc.) so her inclusion was expected. However, DeMelo being on the roster was the biggest surprise; not because of her form over the last two years but because despite being called into USWNT camps before, she had yet to see any minutes on the pitch. This could tie back to Lavelle’s current status in terms of match fitness but in all honestly, DeMelo is one of the most in-form US midfielders and deserves her spot on the roster on that alone.

We also need to look at who would be Alex Morgan’s replacement should the unthinkable happen. With no other “true 9” listed on the roster, Andonovski clearly believes that someone like Sophia Smith, Lynn Williams or Trinity Rodman could step into the role when called upon. All have played in that position for their clubs teams, with Smith and Williams being the most experienced there, but none of them have played there predominantly with the national team. It’s another aspect to highlight in this roster as to how and why it was constructed this way but again, Vlatko Andonovski must fully believe in the versatility of Smith, Williams and Rodman to make the decision of not adding another “true 9” into the mix.

Ireland v United States Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/USSF/Getty Images for USSF

Finally, as many expected, Julie Ertz is back on the roster. The USWNT have tried other players and slight formation tweaks to replace Ertz while she was injured but it never seemed to quite work as well as when Ertz was around. During the April friendlies, Julie Ertz was brought back into the fold and despite still looking a little rusty, showed why Andonovski was so keen to have her back. Ertz is irreplaceable and will be relied on heavily by the USWNT to keep the midfield ticking the way Vlatko Andonovski wants it to.

With so much at stake for the USWNT heading into this World Cup and with more questions around the roster than probably ever before, this is a big moment for both this younger/less experienced roster and for Vlatko Andonovski himself. If the team clicks the way we all know it can, we could be looking at them repeating their feat from 2015 and 2019 but if falls short, which it has since the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on more than one occasion, then we could be coming away from this summer with a lot more concerns than ever before about this team.

The 23-player roster for the 2023 World Cup

Goalkeepers: Aubrey Kingsbury, Casey Murphy, Alyssa Naeher.

Defenders: Alana Cook, Crystal Dunn, Emily Fox, Naomi Girma, Sofia Huerta, Kelley O’Hara, Emily Sonnett.

Midfielders: Savannah DeMelo, Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Kristie Mewis, Ashley Sanchez, Andi Sullivan.

Forwards: Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Trinity Rodman, Sophia Smith, Alyssa Thompson, Lynn Williams.

Sound off below with your thoughts on the roster!