Vlatko Andonovski has announced his first United States squad for true competitive play, unveiling a list of 20 players for Concacaf’s Olympic Qualifiers. The Washington Spirit are represented by Rose Lavelle and Andi Sullivan, the latter of whom broke through despite intense competition at holding midfield, arguably the USWNT’s deepest position. Qualifying begins January 28 in Houston, with the final rounds taking place in Carson, CA.
With Olympic rosters kept to unreasonably small sizes — Andonovski will only be able to take 18 players to Tokyo this summer, provided the USWNT doesn’t suffer a massive upset — there are some noteworthy exclusions. Mallory Pugh, just a day after being traded by the Spirit to Sky Blue FC, was left out, as were Morgan Brian and Allie Long. Alex Morgan (pregnancy) and Tierna Davidson (injury) were also excluded.
Lavelle is expected to be Andonovski’s first choice at attacking midfield. The 24 year old became an international star after her successes at last summer’s World Cup, capping off the tournament with a wonderful goal in the U.S.’s 2-0 win over the Netherlands in the final.
For Sullivan, the path towards getting call-ups in serious competition has been circuitous. After getting USWNT caps while still playing college soccer at Stanford, Sullivan suffered through a disappointing 2018, as did anyone involved with the Spirit that season. However, 2019 was a breakout for Washington’s midfield linchpin, and her composed play at the base of the midfield suits the approach Andonovski has preferred during his time coaching in the NWSL.
The full USWNT roster is as follows:
Goalkeepers (3): Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC)
Defenders (6): 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 (Orlando Pride)
Midfielders (5): Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)
Forwards (6): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Jessica McDonald (North Carolina Courage)