U.S. women’s team looks bright

Erick Amaya, Staff Writer

The United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) is making the final preparations ahead of the roster reveal for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC). Twenty-three professional soccer players will be selected to represent the stars and stripes in France this summer. The WWC runs from June 7-July 7.

The USWNT will take part in Group F, facing Thailand, Chile, and Sweden. They will look to defend its 2015 championship and add a fourth title to U.S. Soccer.

Since the departure of Hope Solo in 2016, the starting goalkeeper position became wide open for the “Yanks.” Alyssa Naeher will go into the tournament as the starting goalkeeper, she has been given the trust to protect the goal. Naeher has proved herself accountable against top-notch competition since taking over at starting goalkeeper.

Ashlyn Harris will be the backup goalkeeper. The Florida native has been able to hold her own when on the field for the USWNT, for the most part. Harris is often on the wrong side of the goal-celebration as she tends to make fatal mistakes with the U.S. team.  

The third goalkeeper will be Adrianna Franch. Her performances for Thorns F.C. led her to be called up to the USWNT. However, her heroic club performances have not been able to translate to the national team.

Becky Sauerbrunn is the leader of defense, she will be on the field more times than not. Kelley O’Hara is the starting outside back when healthy, she provides service to the forwards from the widths of the field. Crystal Dunn is fitting in seamlessly into her new role in defense, also providing service to the forwards.

Emily Sonnett has been able to step up in O’Hara’s absence and can play multiple positions in defense. Casey Short is a stable backup at outside back for the USWNT, her ability to defend her the Chicago Red Stars keeps earning her national team call-ups. Bay Area native’s, Abby Dahlkemper and Tierna Davidson will alternate in the starting center-back position next to Sauerbrunn. Davidson can play center-back or outside-back.

Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Samantha Mewis, McCall Zerboni, and Allie Long are poised to be the midfielders selected by head coach Jill Ellis.

Ertz, Lavelle, and Horan are responsible for much of the team’s success, forming a dynamic trio at the center of the park. The other three will likely serve as backups but are no strangers to step in and take the place of the starting midfielders.

The forwards will cause nightmares for opposing defenders. Alex Morgan has regained her goal-scoring abilities, leading the team in goals for the past year-and-a-half. Tobin Heath and Megan Rapinoe will be alongside Morgan when the time comes to compete. Heath and Rapinoe have been vital to Morgan’s high-scoring success.

Christen Press and Mallory Pugh played protagonists in the USWNT recent pair of friendly matches and will serve as alternates. Press assisted three goals in a match against Belgium, while Pugh scored a brace when they faced Australia. Jessica McDonald will also be an alternate in this position, she is the reigning NWSL Championship MVP, scoring a brace in the final. Veteran, Carli Lloyd will look to lead the team if and when she is called off the bench. She has made a name for herself scoring a hat-trick in a 5-2 win against Japan in the 2015 WWC final.

The official roster is set to be released ahead of a three-match send off series before the team travels to France for the WWC . The USWNT begin WWC play June 11 against Thailand. They will visit Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium as their first stop of the send-off series May 12, against South Africa with 1:30 p.m. kickoff.