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Vlatko Andonovski names Washington Spirit trio to first USWNT roster of 2020

Rose Lavelle, Mal Pugh, and Andi Sullivan are all in the running to make the Olympic qualifying roster

Costa Rica v United States Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

United States women’s national team head coach Vlatko Andonovski has named Washington Spirit trio Rose Lavelle, Mallory Pugh, and Andi Sullivan to his first roster of 2020. The USWNT will meet up in Tampa for a camp that will run from January 5-15, after which Andonovski will name a 20-player roster for Concacaf’s Olympic qualifying tournament (which begins January 28).

For Lavelle, the challenge is pretty straightforward: keep playing at the level she hit in 2019, and she’ll remain a starter. Lavelle will also be hoping to maintain a run of good health heading into another very busy year.

Pugh didn’t get much attention down the stretch of last year’s NWSL season, but she was in arguably her best form since joining the Spirit back in 2017. That didn’t quite carry over to Andonovski’s first friendlies, where veteran stars Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath maintained their places at the top of the pecking order. Christen Press, who had a splendid 2019, also appears further ahead, and in fact may actually be the best forward on the USWNT right now. For Pugh, this camp is about making up ground while also staying ahead of players like Lynn Williams (the only W-League player to get called in for this camp) and Stanford attacker Sophia Smith.

Sullivan faces the hardest path forward, as the USWNT central midfield pool is extraordinarily deep. With the Olympic qualifying roster limited to 20 spots, it’s reasonable to expect only 5-6 midfielders to get called in, and players like Lavelle, Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan, and Sam Mewis seem to be locks. That leaves Sullivan, Morgan Brian, and Allie Long probably competing for one of the last tickets to Houston at the end of the month.

Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe had been called up for Andonovski’s first camp, but was not on this roster. Andonovski has only called in one player spending this winter on loan with a W-League club (Williams), so the door is not closed, but it will be very difficult to break in as part of the Olympic roster without participating in qualifying, which is a group that will in all likelihood come from the players on this list.

The full 28-player roster is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash)
Defenders: Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC), Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage; 53/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage), Margaret Purce (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars)
Midfielders: Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage), Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit), Allie Long (Reign FC)
Forwards: Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage), Jessica McDonald (North Carolina Courage), Sophia Smith (Stanford)