Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath, Taylor Smith on U.S. women's soccer team to face Canada
The roster features some significant new names and some significant absences.
The U.S. women's soccer team roster for games against Canada on Nov. 9 and 12 features some significant new names and some significant absences.
Here are the 23 players summoned by head coach Jill Ellis:
Goalkeepers (4): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride)
Defenders (8): Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage), Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars), Taylor Smith (NC Courage), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns), Chioma Ubogagu (Orlando Pride)
Midfielders (6): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage), Andi Sullivan (Stanford; 5/0)
Forwards (5): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage)
There are quite a few news items here, starting with the inclusions of Franch, Sonnett and Ubogagu.
Franch was the NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year this year. She took part in the national team's January training camp, but has not been called up since then and has never played for the team. We'll see if she sees any game action this time, especially since Ellis called in four goalkeepers.
Sonnett has 12 caps, but none since the SheBelieves Cup back in March. The 23-year-old struggled a bit in some of her last appearances for the national team, but had a stellar season for the Thorns in their title-winning campaign.
Ubogagu will be in senior national team camp for the first time. In 2012, she played on the U.S. team that won the Under-20 World Cup, alongside Ertz and Mewis, among others. Ubogagu plays primarily as a wide forward for the Pride, but has also put in some shifts at outside back.
Ellis wants to test her in the latter role, which is why she's listed as a defender. It is the second time this year that Ellis is trying this, after some success deploying Huerta as a right back.
The starting right back is likely to be Smith, who is ready to play again after suffering a separated shoulder in the NWSL title game.
Tobin Heath, who caused Smith's injury by instigating a crunching collision, is also back. She suffered an ankle injury later in the same game.
The list of notable exclusions is long. It starts with winger Crystal Dunn, who was not released by her English club, Chelsea. A release was not required because the games do not fall during a FIFA women's international game window.
(Though they do fall during a men's international window. MLS is dark because of that, which means these games will have the domestic spotlight to themselves.)
Playmaker Rose Lavelle, central midfielder Morgan Brian and winger Mallory Pugh are all out due to hamstring injuries. Lavelle and Brian have been dealing with their injuries for a while; Pugh suffered hers during the U.S.-South Korea game in New Orleans last month.
Notable players who didn't make the cut include Portland defender Meghan Klingenberg, Orlando defender Ali Krieger, Chicago midfielders Vanessa DiBernardo and Danielle Colaprico, and North Carolina forward Jessica McDonald. Also omitted was North Carolina midfielder McCall Zerboni, who last month became the oldest player to ever make a U.S. women's national team debut.
The Nov. 9 game is a Thursday night contest at BC Place in Vancouver (10 p.m,. ESPN2). It's an artificial turf venue, but one that holds many great memories for the U.S. team, as it was the site of the 2015 World Cup final. Lloyd scored a hat trick in the Americans' 5-2 win over Japan. The Canadian Soccer Association said Monday that over 22,500 tickets have been sold for the game.
(Before you complain about the U.S. having to play another game on turf, make sure to aim your tweets in the right direction. The CSA picked the venue, not U.S. Soccer, since it's Canada's home game.)
The Nov. 12 game is a Sunday night contest at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, Calif. (9 p.m., Fox Sports 1).