Home News Out of international games: Final USWNT World Cup roster prediction

Out of international games: Final USWNT World Cup roster prediction

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With no more international games to play, it’s crunch time for Vlakto Andonovski to pick 23 players to represent the USA at the Women’s World Cup this summer. There are no easy choices when it comes to the USWNT roster. 

The USWNT played their last two international matches this past week before the World Cup Roster drops. They managed to squeak out two victories against the Republic of Ireland. This was head coach Vlatko Andonovski’s last chance to see his team get minutes together before they head back to their individual clubs. We saw several players return from injury for the first time in months, and Mallory Swanson suffered an injury that will likely keep her off the World Cup roster this year.

Keeping all of this in mind, it’s time for one more roster prediction before the final World Cup roster drops, likely in June.

USWNT goalkeepers: Alyssa Naeher, AD Franch, Casey Murphy

The goalkeepers have been locked in for a few months now with this trio getting consistent call-ups. Although we have yet to see Franch get national team minutes this year, it’s likely she’ll occupy the third spot for this team as they head to New Zealand. Murphy and Naeher are in top form, doing consistently well in their matches this year, making this the only position relatively simple for Vlatko to nail down.

USWNT defenders: Naomi Girma, Emily Fox, Becky Sauerbrunn, Crystal Dunn, Alana Cook, Sofia Huerta, Emily Sonnett, Tierna Davidson

Vlatko called in 10 defenders to these friendlies, which is telling of how many spots are truly in contention here. In terms of the defense, we saw the return of Davidson, O’Hara, and Krueger in these matches. Davidson and Kruger hadn’t been with the team in over a year, and we hadn’t seen O’Hara with the team since last July.

There are a few locks in this position — Girma, Dunn, and Fox in particular have cemented their spots with this team. But it’s tough to rule out defenders when the USWNT has such depth in this area. But based on these last few games, Sonnett and Huerta will make the cut as fullback subs for Dunn and Fox. This means that Girma, Cook, and Sauerbrunn will play centerback which is why the last spot goes to Davidson to provide some more depth in the centerback position.

There’s a possibility here that O’Hara or Krueger earns their way back in club play, knocking out Sonnett or Huerta, but only time will tell.

USWNT midfielders: Rose Lavelle, Lindsey Horan, Andi Sullivan, Ashely Sanchez, Kristie Mewis, Julie Ertz

The midfield made a splash this week with the return of World Cup Champion and certified baller Julie Ertz. She made her return to the pitch for the first time in 611 days and is still unattached to a club team. She looked a little rough around the edges, but overall, she had a strong performance and helped provide that boost in the midfield that this team has been desperately needing. If she continues to do well once she’s with a club, it would only make sense to add her to this roster.

Unfortunately, this means we likely won’t see Sam Coffey (who hasn’t gotten USWNT minutes since 2022) or Taylor Kornieck (who didn’t dress last match or play in the first) on this roster for the midfield.

It would be laughable to attempt the World Cup without Rose Lavelle, who has locked down her spot on this team with every game. Lavelle is part of Vlatko’s favorite starting trio, with Sullivan and Horan who will both be on the plane to New Zealand.

As far as extra power off the bench, Mewis and Sanchez have both had strong performances with this team and will likely take up the final spots in contention. If there were to be a surprise in the midfield, it would be the return of Catarina Macario, who is working her way back from injury. But that would be a risky move considering she hasn’t been with this team since she tore her ACL last June. Vlatko hasn’t ruled her out and cites needing to see club play to make his final decision.

USWNT forwards: Alex Morgan, Sophia Smith, Trinity Rodman, Lynn Williams, Megan Rapinoe, Ashley Hatch

The USWNT will almost certainly be traveling without Swanson this summer, which means someone else will be going to the cup in her place. Vlatko called in Alyssa Thompson to the roster as a replacement for Swanson during these friendlies. The 18-year-old got the start in the second match against Ireland and ended up playing the full 90. She had a few good looks but couldn’t convert. But in the past, Vlakto has gone with experience over youth, and for this reason, I’m unconvinced Thompson will make this roster.

Alex Morgan, Sophia Smith, and Trinity Rodman have all but secured their spots with their exceptional performances for club and country. If Rapinoe is anywhere near healthy, she’ll be on that roster, bringing experience and swagger to the USWNT. Swanson’s spot will likely go to Ashely Hatch, who has been getting consistent minutes and call-ups. This means no Midge Purce, who missed out on the latest friendly callups, unlike her Gotham teammate Lynn Williams who is long overdue for her first World Cup roster.

The USWNT benefits from its exceptional depth, but that also means that narrowing down talented players to just a 23-player roster is incredibly difficult. There are at least four or five more variations of this roster that would be just as likely as the one predicted here. But now it’s up to the players performing well with their clubs to secure their spot to New Zealand this summer. The USWNT plays their recently announced sendoff match on July 9 in San Jose against Wales and opens their World Cup play on July 21 against Vietnam.

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