U.S. Soccer announced today that Tobin Heath will not be featuring in the matches against Canada that the United States Women's National Team will be playing over the next week or so. Heath had missed most of the fixtures for the USWNT in this calendar year due to injury and it looks like she's set to miss the final two games of the year as well.
An injury-interrupted season ends early for Heath
After missing most of the National Women's Soccer League season through injury, the Portland Thorns FC midfielder recovered in time to feature for her team in the 2017 NWSL Playoffs. During the NWSL Championship game, which the Thorns won, Heath received a knock on her ankle and that injury has now put her out of contention for the matches on Thursday night in Vancouver, British Columbia and on Sunday in San Jose, California.
The USWNT medical staff determined that even though Heath had trained with the team over the last few days in Vancouver, she had not recovered fully enough from that injury to be able to play in these friendlies, and thus will not be available for selection. According to the press release by U.S. Soccer, head coach Jill Ellis has decided not to call up a replacement for Heath and will pick her game day 18 from the 22 players she has available for her at this time.
A frustrating year ends the same way it started for Heath
As mentioned, Heath has missed a lot of game time in this calendar year due to injury. Not only was she unavailable for her club team until September but she had also been unavailable for selection to the national team until late October. In that time period, Megan Rapinoe and Mallory Pugh have filled in in both wide forward positions and as Pugh is also out for the rest of the year due to injury, we may see Sofia Huerta, Lynn Williams or Chioma Ubogagu play in that position instead with likely Rapinoe and Alex Morgan making up the rest of the three-front.
Jill Ellis may select to change formations and use two strikers instead of three, which in that case, could see either Williams, Carli Lloyd or Christen Press partnering Morgan up top. In any case, the USWNT have played most of 2017 without Heath and will probably not have too many issues finding a formation that they feel will work against their rivals Canada over the next two games.