The United States Women's National Team have announced the 22-player roster set to face off against New Zealand on September 15th in Colorado, and September 19th in Cincinnati. Head coach Jill Ellis continues to mix the old with the new in her rosters and will most likely continue on her experimentation with tactics as well against an opponent that the USWNT has only ever lost once against. Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado will host the first match and then Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio will host the second match.
Ellis feels the team can finish strongly and O'Hara closes in n 100 caps
In a statement released on USSoccer.com, Ellis pointed out that with only six matches left in the calendar year, this was an opportunity to "finish the year with solid performances". The USWNT also have matches scheduled against South Korea and Canada before the year is done and Ellis stated that each team would "present different challenges" for her team.
Along with a strong performance to see out the year, Kelley O'Hara will be hoping to hit 100 caps during the next two friendlies if possible. The 29-year-old defender/midfielder has been an ever-present in the USWNT since 2011 and has scored two goals in her international career, most notably scoring her first ever in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup semi-final against Germany.
Heath, Harris return to the fold
After missing most of the National Women's Soccer League season and all of the USWNT's matches scheduled this year, Tobin Heath is back to full fitness and has thus been called up by Jill Ellis for these upcoming friendlies. Heath is still making her way back to full fitness but her return will be a welcome one, especially if she rediscovers her 2016 form.
Ashlyn Harris also returns to the national team setup after missing the Tournament of Nations through injury. Although not expected to be the number one goalkeeper for the USWNT, Harris' experience and quality will be expected to push Alyssa Naeher in every training session. Harris may also feature in one of these friendlies should Ellis stick to her regular rotation.
The full 22 player roster
Goalkeepers: Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride).
Defenders: Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage), Tierna Davidson (Stanford), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars), Taylor Smith (NC Courage).
Midfielders: Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Boston Breakers), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC).
Forwards: Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit), Lynn Williams (NC Courage).
Quotes via USSoccer.com