USWNT: Who deserves a call-up?

Several NWSL players have proved themselves to be a good fit for the US National Team.

USWNT: Who deserves a call-up?
USWNT: Who deserves a call-up? Photo: Getty Images/Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello

The United States Women's National Team showed an impressive amount of skill this past weekend at the friendlies against China PR, but noticeably struggled to work in unison as a team. Head coach, Jill Ellis, has been experimenting with the placement and positions of players in an attempt to determine the best fit. Ellis has also been passing around the captain's armband to the player on the field with the most caps. While this experimentation is necessary, Ellis needs to solidify the roster so that the players can learn to work as a team. Additionally, Ellis should consider adding several other deserving National Women's Soccer League players to the team who have shown promise in the league. 

Kealia Ohai

Ohai races to the ball during a game against the Orlando Pride. Photo: Getty Images/Alex Menendez
Ohai races to the ball during a game against the Orlando Pride. Photo: Getty Images/Alex Menendez

The first player who deserves a call-up is Kealia Ohai from the Houston Dash. With Carli Lloyd leaving the Dash to join the Sky Blue FC, Ohai stepped up as a captain to support her team. Ohai was successful early on in her career after she was drafted from the UNC Tarheels second overall in the 2014 NWSL college draft.  The 26-year-old made her first international debut for the senior team on October 23, 2016, during the peak of her NWSL career. She scored 48 seconds after entering the match in the 81st minute and set the record for the fastest goal in the US women's national team debuts. After completing a collection of matches in 2014 and 2015 with only 8 total goals, Ohai managed to pick herself up in 2016 with a total of 11 goals and 4 assists.  Although Ohai has had a lot of experience of youth national teams, she has had very few opportunities to play with the full team. Conveniently, the few opportunities Ohai had to play with the national team were successful, making her well worthy of a call-up. 

Emily Menges 

Menges fight off opponent during a game against the North Carolina Courage. Photo:Getty Images/IconSportswire
Menges fight off an opponent during a game against the North Carolina Courage. Photo:Getty Images/IconSportswire
 

The second player that deserves a call-up is Emily Menges of the Portland Thorns FC. Menges has been with the thorns since the 2014 draft and was the 25th overall pick. The defenseman has never been involved with any youth or senior national team, but could be a likely pick for Jill Ellis since she has continued to prove herself in the NWSL. Menges plays alongside USWNT regular Emily Sonnett and demonstrates good strength and compatibility with Sonnett. This past weekend, the national team back line was very weak and gave up easy chances. Therefore, a player like Menges, who can make key tackles and blocks consistently, would be a good addition to the national team.  

Adrianna Franch 

Franch lunges for the ball during a game against the Orlando Pride Image: Getty Images/IconSportswire
Franch lunges for the ball during a game against the Orlando Pride Image: Getty Images/IconSportswire

Lastly, Adrianna Franch of the Portland Thorns also deserves a call-up. The goalkeeper has had previous experience with U-20 and U-23 teams as well as with the national team. Franch was called up in May of 2012 to train with the team as they prepared for the 2012 Summer Olympics and was later added to the roster in March of 2013 for matches against Germany and the Netherlands. Franch had a total of 11 shutouts during the 2017 season. The 27-year-old was also named NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year and NWSL Best XI selection in 2017. The national team goalkeeper position is currently open and would give Franch a good opportunity to prove herself once she returns from injury. Franch is expected to travel with the thorns to their next game against the Chicago Red Stars and will most likely play in the upcoming game against the Houston Dash. Though she only played 3 matches before her injury this season, she showed promise during last season and still has a lot of time left to regain her skills before the tournament of nations and the CONCACAF qualifiers.