With the inaugural National Women’s Soccer League season in the book, the top U.S. players will gather for an international friendly against Mexico on Sept. 3 at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC.
U.S. WNT coach Tom Sermanni has called in 18 players for the game. The U.S. team has scheduled just one practice session before the match. The only European-based player called into camp is Yael Averbuch, who will already be on the East Coast to attend a wedding.
The roster features 15 players from the National Women’s Soccer League; two college players in Crystal Dunn from North Carolina (six caps) and Morgan Brian from Virginia (one cap); and Averbuch, who plays for Göteborg FC in Sweden.
While the roster features the USA’s usual veteran contingent, Sermanni did give first call-ups to FC Kansas City defender Leigh Ann Robinson and midfielder Erika Tymrak, who won the 2013 NWSL Rookie of the Year Award after an excellent season in which she scored six goals with four assists while appearing in 21 of her club’s 22 matches.
Nicole Barnhart of FC Kansas City was named NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year after leading the league with 10 shutouts while ranking third in goals against average (0.95) and fifth in saves (67). Barnhart was named to the roster along with Hope Solo.
Barnhart’s FC Kansas City teammate Becky Sauerbrunn was recognized earlier as the NWSL Defender of the Year.
Alex Morgan, who was injured on Aug. 7, was named for the match, but will not play if she is not deemed healthy. Veteran Shannon Boxx is also missing as she recovers from surgery earlier this year.
The U.S. women have not played a game since June 20 when Wambach became the USA’s all-time leading scorer with 159 career goals. She had four goals in that game, a 5-0 shutout of the Korea Republic. Sermanni has been busy traveling throughout the NWSL cities, checking on his players.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the NWSL matches this summer and I know all the players will be sharp for the game against Mexico,” said Sermanni. “We have several key players out with injuries, but I’m pleased we were able to call in a few new players to give them a brief look at this event.
“Looking forward, all the players need and deserve a break, so after this match we’ll give them the rest of September off and get ready for our activity in mid-October.”
The game will feature six of the nine top scorers during the NWSL regular season in Lauren Holiday (12 goals), Sydney Leroux (11), Abby Wambach (11), Carli Lloyd (8) and Morgan (8).
In addition, Mexico will likely bring in Sky Blue FC forward Monica Ocampo, who finished tied for fourth in regular season scoring with eight goals. Mexico has 12 players who competed in the NWSL this season.
This will be the first game for Wambach after breaking Mia Hamm’s all-time scoring record. And after her four-goal effort, like Hamm often did, she deflected credit to her teammates.
“It’s surreal to begin with,” said Wambach. “I’m so thankful and my teammates were trying to get me those goals. I can’t thank them enough. As a competitor you want to be done with the things that put me at the forefront of conversations. This team is too good to be talking about one person.”
The match at the home of Major League Soccer’s D.C. United will kick off at 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1. It will mark the first international soccer match on the new FOX Sports 1, America’s new sports network, which launched on Aug. 17 in approximately 90 million homes.
Eleven of the players called up are on teams participating in the semifinals of the NWSL playoffs on Saturday, Aug. 24, on Fox Sports 2. FC Kansas City faces Portland Thorns FC at 2 p.m. ET at Verizon Wireless Field in Overland Park, Kan., while the Western New York Flash host Sky Blue FC at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, N.Y. at 8 p.m. ET.
Your subscription has expired please
Subscribe to Southern Soccer Scene to view full article and get all the news in your mailbox!