Predicting USWNT roster for England and Spain friendlies – JWS

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The United States Women’s National Soccer Team travels to Europe in October to face its toughest competition so far this year.

The team will face England on October 7, followed by Spain on October 11. While the USWNT sits atop the FIFA World Rankings, England sit in fourth place and Spain in eighth.

Which 23 players will coach Vlatko Andonovski bring on the trip? Just women’s sport predicts the roster as the USWNT takes shape ahead of the 2023 World Cup.

Predicting the USWNT European Roster

Guardians

  • Alyssa Naher
  • Casey Murphy
  • Aubrey Kingsbury

Andonovski’s goalie roster has remained relatively consistent despite a deep NWSL pool. Kansas City’s Adrianna Franch and OL Reign’s Phallon Tullis-Joyce, among others, have impressed in the National League but are yet to break into the USWNT roster this year.

The England and Spain friendlies are likely to feature the familiar formation of Naeher, Murphy and Kingsbury, with Andonovski yet to name a starting goalkeeper.

Naeher and Murphy each started in the USWNT’s September friendlies against Nigeria. Expect each to get a shoutout between England and Spain matches as both argue for the starting position.

Defenders

  • Naomi Girma
  • Alana Cook
  • Becky Sauerbrunn
  • Crystal Dunn
  • Emilie Renard
  • Sophie Huerta

The USWNT backline began to merge, with Cook and Sauerbrunn appearing to have locked in the starting center back roles. Girma has also impressed the backbone of the field, cycling for Sauerbrunn throughout the 2022 campaign.

While Andonovski acknowledged that Cook was “slightly ahead” of Girma during the USWNT’s September camp, he also said, “I think Naomi is making great progress. One thing I love about them, they are brave, not just off the ball, but on the ball.

Huerta and Fox have earned regular starts on the flanks, but Dunn’s return from parental leave could change that. Andonovski seemed eager to put Dunn back in the mix during the team’s practice in September, telling reporters, “I wouldn’t be surprised if we see her on the pitch soon.”

Dunn’s return comes as prop Kelley O’Hara continues to battle a hip injury that sidelined the star for USNWT friendlies in Nigeria.

Midfielders

  • Rose Lavelle
  • Lindsay Horan
  • Andi Sullivan
  • Ashley Sanchez
  • Kristie Mewis
  • Sam Coffey
  • Taylor Kornieck

The midfielder has been the biggest question mark on Andonovski’s list, with stars Sam Mewis and Julie Ertz missing from the squad through injury and parental leave, respectively.

Lavelle, Horan and Sullivan have regularly appeared in the starting XI but have yet to fully gel on the pitch.

Andonovski brought a range of players to try out in midfield, including Racing Louisville’s Savannah DeMelo, who earned her first call-up to the senior squad as a replacement for Trinity Rodman in the team’s September camp.

Coffey earned his first cap against Nigeria as Andonovski looks to develop his depth in the defensive midfield position.

Attackers

  • Alex Morgan
  • Sophie Smith
  • Mallory Pugh
  • Megan Rapinoe
  • Ashley Hatch
  • Trinity Rodman
  • Marguerite Purce

The starting line-up of attackers is all but locked down heading into the 2023 World Cup cycle, with Smith, Morgan and Pugh dominating the frontline.

Rapinoe has earned her spot as a game changer, proving she knows how to make an impact off the bench. Andonovski also spoke about the critical presence and experience Rapinoe brings as a veteran.

Rodman showed flashes of genius and is seen as the future of the USWNT, while Hatch and Purce will be looking for precious minutes to prove their case.

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