The United States National Women's Team 24-player roster for the upcoming April friendlies against Russia have been named by head coach Jill Ellis. The friendlies are scheduled for April 6 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas and April 9 at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas.
The list will be whittled down to 18 players for the game day rosters as Ellis continues to evaluate and experiment with the players around her. The USWNT will be looking to bounce back after a last-place finish at the 2017 SheBelieves Cup which culminated with a 3-0 loss to winners France, and a lower-ranked team like Russia could be the best place to start to rebuild confidence again.
The NWSL features heavily once again
Of the 24 players named, 21 of those players all currently play in the National Women's Soccer League. The goalkeepers named have remained the same as those available during the SheBelieves Cup but some notable names have returned to the national team set up in other areas. Meghan Klingenberg returns after injury, Megan Rapinoe is also back in the fold and Kealia Ohai is back in contention after missing out on the roster for the SheBelieves Cup. Amy Rodriguez gets a second training camp call up in a row and Megan Oyster has earned her first senior national team call-up.
Jessica MacDonald and Emily Sonnett have been dropped from this training camp and are set to remain with their NWSL clubs while Crystal Dunn, Alex Morgan, and Carli Lloyd, who are all playing outside of the US, are set to join the training camp on March 30th and April 3rd respectively. Julie Johnston is also set to miss this round of friendlies due to her wedding and honeymoon and is also set to change the name on her jersey from Johnston to Ertz. Ashley Pinto has also not been selected to this training camp after making the previous camp and will remain with her college team.
The roster does not indicate a tactical change
As previously noted by our writers, the three-back system still has many issues to it and the roster does not seem to be made with the thought of moving away from that system. The flaws in Ellis' tactical knowledge and adaptability were exposed by France but Russia should not pose the same sort of threat that France possesses and thus, the three-back system should work well enough if used.
As of right now, Alyssa Naeher seems to have won the goalkeeper battle and named as the starting goalkeeper of the team and Lloyd is probably set to start at least one of these friendlies, and if she scored will draw closer to her 100th international goal. The ever-changing forward line is another question that Ellis will be looking to address as Christen Press and Lynn Williams will now have a fully fit Morgan to content with.
Full 24-player roster
Defenders: Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Megan Oyster (Boston Breakers), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars).
Midfielders: Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Boston Breakers), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash/Manchester City), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC).
Forwards: Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride/Olympique Lyonnais), Kealia Ohai (Houston Dash), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (UCLA), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Lynn Williams (NC Courage).