U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named 22 players to the roster for two international friendlies against New Zealand, taking place Sept. 15 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. (8 pm MT on ESPN2) and on Sept. 19 at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati (7:30 ET on FS1). Ellis will name 18 players to suit up for each of the two matches.
“We are looking forward to getting to Denver and having a couple of days together prepping for our first New Zealand match,” Ellis said. “With only six matches left in 2017, we want to take advantage of the time we have together and finish the year with solid performances. New Zealand, South Korea, and Canada all present different challenges, and these games will round out one of the most competitive schedules the WNT program has played in a calendar year.”
The matches will bring several players back to their hometowns as midfielders Mallory Pugh (Highlands Ranch) and Lindsey Horan (Golden) return to the Denver area. In Horan’s last match at DSGP, she scored what looked to be the winning goal to put the USA up 3-2 late in the match against Japan on June 2, 2016, but Japan equalized in stoppage time.
Midfielder Rose Lavelle returns to the roster after recovering from a hamstring injury suffered against Norway on June 11 that kept her out of the Tournament Nations and off the field for the Boston Breakers for a good portion of the NWSL season. Lavelle grew up in Cincinnati and if she makes the game day roster, will be playing in front of her hometown crowd for the first time as a professional.
TOBIN IS BACK IN ACTION
Veteran midfielder Tobin Heath returns to the roster after recovering from a back injury that kept her out of the U.S. lineup since March. Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris also returns after recovering from a quad injury that kept her off the field for several months. Midfielder Morgan Brian returns after missing the last three WNT events due to injuries. The recent Chicago Red Stars acquisition has not played for the USA since March. Midfielder Megan Rapinoe, who had been out for several weeks after minor knee surgery following the Tournament of Nations where she scored twice, has recovered sufficiently to be available for selection for the New Zealand games.
Defender Kelley O’Hara comes into the matches with 99 caps. With her next appearance, she will become the 36th female player in U.S. history to play 100 or more times for her country. O’Hara debuted for the USA in 2010 and switched to playing primarily defender in 2012. Her goal against Germany in the semifinal of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup – her first at the senior level – will go down as one of the most memorable moments in U.S. history.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position (Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars;18/0), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 1/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 13/0)
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 7/0), Tierna Davidson (Stanford; 0/0), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 51/9), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC; 99/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City; 129/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 13/0), Taylor Smith (NC Courage; 3/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 67/6), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 131/18), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 37/3), Rose Lavelle (Boston Breakers; 6/2), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC; 30/5), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 28/5), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 123/33)
FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC; 54/22), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 128/74), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars; 90/43), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 26/5), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 10/2)
- Chicago Red Stars flank player Sofia Huerta will once again train with the U.S. team as she waits for the approval of the request for change of association from FIFA. If the one-time change is approved, she will immediately become eligible to play for the USA. Huerta played for Mexico at the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and has five caps for the senior team. Huerta trained with the USA during the entire 2017 Tournament of Nations.
- All 10 NWSL clubs are represented on the roster.
- U.S. co-captain Carli Lloyd will miss the matches as she continues to recover from an ankle injury suffered while playing for the Houston Dash. Lloyd is on 97 career goals and with three more will become the sixth player in U.S. history to hit the 100-goal mark.
- With Lloyd out, Tobin Heath is the most-capped play on the roster with 131. Co-captain Becky has played 129 games. Alex Morgan has 128 caps and Megan Rapinoe has 123.
- Twelve players on the roster have 30 caps or fewer.
- Morgan comes into the matches with 74 goals (tops on the roster) and needs just one more to tie Cindy Parlow for seventh place on the USA’s all-time goal scoring list. Morgan is on a scoring streak in the NWSL, having scored 8 goals in her last 8 games for the Orlando Pride.
- The only uncapped player on the roster is Stanford University sophomore defender Tierna Davidson. A member of the current U.S. Under-20 WNT player pool, the 5-foot-10 Davidson will turn 19 in a few weeks and gets her second call-up to the senior side after training with the USA last January.
- The USA is 12-1-1 all-time against New Zealand, which is ranked 19th in the world.
- The most recent meeting between the teams came in the opening game of the 2016 Olympics, a 2-0 win in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on goals from Lloyd and Morgan.
- These will be the first meetings with New Zealand on U.S. soil since a 4-0 win in St. Louis on April 4, 2015 in the lead up to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
- The USA’s only loss to New Zealand came in the first match between the teams back in 1987, a 1-0 victory for the Football Ferns. The USA has gone 12-0-1 since.
- This will be the sixth visit to Colorado for the U.S. WNT and fifth to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
- The USA and New Zealand have played once before in Cincinnati, a 6-0 U.S. win in 2004 on the post-Olympic tour after the USA won the gold medal in Athens, Greece. Goals in that game came from Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Aly Wagner, Julie Foudy and Cindy Parlow (2).
- The USA’s three previous matches in Cincinnati were played at Galbreath Field (1993) and Paul Brown Stadium (2004 and 2008).