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Washington Spirit captain Andi Sullivan added to USWNT roster for Sweden, France friendlies

After missing a couple of call-ups due to injury, Sullivan is back in the squad

Nikita Taparia / Black and Red United

Andi Sullivan has been added to the latest USWNT roster for games against Sweden and France later this month. Vlatko Andonovski made the choice to bolster the squad with the Washington Spirit captain despite not losing any players to injury, bringing the group up to 24 players. U.S. Soccer says the team will dress 18 players in each of the two games, which fall on April 10 (in Stockholm) and on April 13 (in Le Havre).

Sullivan, 25, has been in and out of the USWNT picture mostly due to poorly-timed injuries over the last few months. An MCL injury ended her 2020 NWSL season early, costing her multiple chances to get into camp and impress Andonovski. In 2021, she picked up a quad injury just before a pair of games against Colombia. That kept her out of the March camp as well, and she was initially left out of this camp before being added today.

Sullivan will join Spirit teammates Kelley O’Hara and Emily Sonnett with the USWNT, which will leave Washington with some interesting choices to make for at least the first two Challenge Cup matches (which are on April 10 at North Carolina and April 16 at Segra Field against Sky Blue FC). Julia Roddar will also be away during this set of games, as she has been called up by Sweden.

In preseason matches, the Spirit have tended to prefer to adjust to subbing Sullivan off by moving Dorian Bailey into a deeper role and bringing Natalie Jacobs in to play the no. 8 role. However, veteran Tori Huster has spent most of her pro career playing as a defensive midfielder, and could end up moving inside. In that case, Jacobs or Saori Takarada appear to be the strongest candidates to play on the right flank, whether that’s right back in a 433 or right wingback in the 3421 Richie Burke has deployed in two of three preseason games.

Update 7:50pm: Or maybe not! Takarada has been called up by Asako Takakura for Japan’s games against Paraguay (April 8 in Sendai) and Panama (April 11 in Tokyo). Takarada has appeared three times for the Nadeshiko, all during the 2019 World Cup, and is in the frame for their Olympic squad later this summer. Her recent appearances as a defender with the Spirit are most likely designed to help her make her case for Takakura, though long-term her position in Washington appears to be more likely to be in an attacking role.

With Takarada away during this window as well, the Spirit’s depth will be stretched on the right flank. Anna Heilferty, normally more of a forward, may see minutes as a wingback if the Spirit stick with a back three (though that in turn is complicated by having Sonnett away with the USWNT).