The United States Women’s National Team has two friendly matches with Germany on November 10 and 13. While the team’s last go around with European competition, versus England in England and Spain in Spain, didn’t go so well, head coach Vlatko Andonovski knows improvement must be shown.
As such, let’s discuss the roster that was announced on Tuesday, and analyze one key thing about each position group!
GOALKEEPERS: Adrianna Franch (Kansas City Current), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
The Key Thing: After a brilliant season as an integral part of a team that went all the way to the NWSL Championship, Franch is back in USWNT camp. While the 34-year-old Alyssa Naeher is still viewed as the starter, 26-year-old Casey Murphy is being positioned as her successor, but will need to be pushed to continue to improve.
At 31, AD Franch’s remarkable shot stopping ability and command of her penalty area could help her challenge Murphy for playing time.
DEFENDERS: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Hailie Mace (Kansas City Current), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC)
The Key Thing: Within this group of defenders are three center backs, three left backs, and just one right back, Sofia Huerta. During his post-roster release presser, head coach Vlatko Andobovski noted that Huerta will not be on a minutes restriction for these two games, as she was versus England and Spain. However, if for whatever reason a change needs to be made, someone will be playing out of position.
MIDFIELDERS: Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)
The Key Thing: Rookie Sam Coffey’s breakout season has fast-tracked her into USWNT call ups, in part because this group has the biggest question marks in the team. Andonovski still hasn’t found a versatile enough pairing — or style of play — in midfield, and it may be time to experiment with different setups of responsibilities or formations in order to better fit available personnel. (One wild card decision would be to add Crystal Dunn to this group so that she can play her favored position.)
FORWARDS: Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Alyssa Thompson (Total Futbol Academy)
The Key Thing: While the midfield struggles can starve the attack of the service they need, there’s no question that this is one of the strongest attacking groups in women’s soccer. At 22 years old, NWSL MVP and NWSL Championship MVP Sophia Smith is already one of the best forwards in the world. As if her talent alone wasn’t unfair enough, she’s often paired with Mallory Pugh, and now, possibly Trinity Rodman.