Jill Ellis has named the USWNT roster for the 2019 World Cup in France. While the top half of the squad has been set in stone for some time now, there are still some major surprises, including recalls for veterans Ali Krieger and Morgan Brian. Krieger’s return comes after going roughly two years without a call-up before returning to the fold for the team’s final pre-tournament camp last month.
The Washington Spirit have two players on the roster, with Rose Lavelle a probable starter in the midfield and Mallory Pugh figuring to see regular minutes as an attacking substitute. Andi Sullivan, who has been on the edge of either being included or left out for much of this cycle, will miss out as Ellis opted for Brian and Reign FC midfielder Allie Long.
The choice to recall Krieger is widely believed to be related to Kelley O’Hara’s slow recovery from ankle surgery. However, with several frequent call-ups capable of playing right back — Emily Sonnett has seen plenty of time there for Ellis, while Casey Short has played there in both of her Chicago Red Stars appearances this season — it appears the issue was less about finding a right back and more about whether Ellis trusted any of the younger players to take over. Krieger’s experience as a World Cup and Olympic champion with 99 caps appears to have won the day.
The United States squad will depart for an lengthy pre-World Cup camp, meaning that NWSL clubs will have to make do without their biggest stars for at least two months. The USWNT’s slate in Group F begins on June 11, with a match against Thailand. They’ll then face Chile on June 16 before finishing up with something of a grudge match against Sweden on June 20. With the team listed as the overall favorite, an appearance in the final on July 7 is expected, though there is the potential for a quarterfinal against France, the host nation who has beaten the U.S. a couple of times in recent years.
The final 23-player roster is as follows:
Defenders (7): Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC), Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars)
Midfielders (6): Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage), Allie Long (Reign FC), Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars)
Forwards (7): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Jess McDonald (North Carolina Courage), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC)