Jill Ellis has named her roster for the two June friendlies scheduled against Sweden and Norway. The 21-player roster includes some familiar returning faces, first-time call-ups and some staples of the United States Women's National Team not being included this time around.
Smith comes in, Krieger goes out
After the recent news of Ashlyn Harris' prolonged absence due to injury, Ellis decided to call up the Boston Breakers goalkeeper, Abby Smith, as a replacement for the injured Harris. Smith's form this season has been fantastic and her call-up to the senior team for these friendlies is not a surprise due to her National Women's Soccer League form. In her second year in the NWSL, Smith has made 22 saves in her six starts, averaging a goal per game and won NWSL Save of the Week honors in this past week of action. Of the current goalkeepers eligible to play for the USWNT and young enough to attract Ellis' attention, Smith has earned the right to possibly start or feature for the senior team this upcoming month.
On the flip side, the roster sees the Orlando Pride's Ali Kreiger not called up for the first time since an ACL injury took her out of the 2012 London Olympics. There had been rumblings that Ellis is looking to introduce younger players into the setup and Kreiger's exclusion could be a sign of that. Nothing has been confirmed as of yet but many will look at this lineup and wonder what exactly Krieger has done or not done to be not included this time around. In her place comes Jaelene Hinkle who had previously fallen out of favor with Ellis after featuring quite heavily for the team in the latter parts of 2015 and early 2016. The form of current table toppers, NC Courage, could have a large part as to why Hinkle is on the roster this time around as she is part of a Courage backline that has conceded only six goals so far this season.
Leroux returns after a lengthy layoff
Another familiar face rejoining the USWNT in June will be that of Sydney Leroux. Leroux had been out of the national team set up since she last featured for the team in 2015 and has finally returned to full fitness to feature for her club FC Kansas City, since the season began. Although Leroux only has one goal and one assist in her six starts so far this season, she has looked sharp for FCKC and will be looking to make a statement on the international level once again.
Morgan Brian and Julie Ertz also return to the fold after missing out on the last roster due to injury and a wedding respectively. Both are now staples within the USWNT setup and many fans will look forward to seeing them on the field once again. Alex Morgan, who is currently working her way back to full fitness for Olympique Lyonnais, has also been included on the roster as the coaching staff feels that she will be fully recovered in time for these two friendlies. Tobin Heath is set to miss another USWNT roster due to her ongoing injury issues so having Megan Rapinoe included will give Ellis a capable set piece taker in the team once again.
The full 21 player roster
Below is the complete 21 player roster which also includes 18 players from the NWSL. Those 18 players will be available for their clubs for the matches on June 3rd before heading out to join the national team.
Goalkeepers: Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Abby Smith (Boston Breakers).
Defenders: Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Jaelene Hinkle (NC Courage), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars).
Midfielders: Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Boston Breakers), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash/Manchester City), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC).
Forwards: Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC), Sydney Leroux (FC Kansas City), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride/Olympique Lyonnais), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit).