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The U.S. Women’s National Team will be without one of its biggest stars for the upcoming annual SheBelieves Cup. Forward Sophia Smith, who became the youngest player to win the NWSL MVP last fall and was recently voted US Soccer’s Player of the Year, is still nursing a foot injury and will not play in the Americans’ next three games against Canada, Japan and Brazil.
The Portland Thorns forward, who helped lead his club to the 2022 NWSL championship, is not expected to miss what would be his first World Cup this summer.
The more immediate good news is that Vlatko Andonovski’s 23-man squad includes winger Megan Rapinoe (ankle), who is back after missing the team’s January trip to New Zealand. He will have a chance to reach 200 matches during the three-match tournament, as he is currently at 197.
And while she doesn’t technically hold a roster spot, defensive end Tierna Davidson will train with the team during the first leg of SheBelieves in Orlando as she continues to recover from a torn ACL that kept her out of the 2022 season. the NWSL. His imminent return to practice is a positive sign for the USWNT’s backline. This will be Davidson’s first call-up to the national team since last year’s SheBelieves Cup, where he played in all three games before his injury in March 2022.
The SheBelieves Cup will take place from February 16 to 22 in three different cities. The USWNT will face Canada at Exploria Stadium in Orlando on February 16th, Japan at GEODIS Park in Nashville on February 19th and then Brazil at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas on February 22nd.
All four nations have qualified for the World Cup and are among the top 11 FIFA world rankings, with the United States taking the top spot.
“These three games are great opportunities for players and coaches as we enter the final stretch to pick the World Cup squad,” Andonovski said in a statement. “To get to play three top teams, everyone at the World Cup, for seven days, will test our team mentally and physically, and that’s exactly what we need at this point in our preparations. We still have a few players in the Championship. pool recovering from injuries but we are confident they will be ready for selection for our games in April.”
That would likely include Smith, as well as midfielder Catarina Macario, who is recovering from a torn ACL. It does not include midfielder Sam Mewis, who announced on social media this week that he has undergone a second knee surgery and is unlikely to be available for the World Cup.
The U.S. is coming off a successful trip to New Zealand last month, which featured two wins over the World Cup co-hosts the Football Ferns. The Americans played those games at Sky Stadium in Wellington and Eden Park in Auckland, two venues where they will play during the World Cup group stage.
This summer’s World Cup kicks off on July 20 with the final scheduled for August 20, and will be held in nine different cities across New Zealand and Australia. The USWNT was drawn into Group E with Vietnam, the Netherlands and the winner of a Cameroon-Thailand-Portugal playoff to be determined this month.
The Americans play all three group games in New Zealand, with the first against Vietnam at Eden Park on July 22. It will face the Netherlands on July 27 and the playoff winner on August 1.
United States Women’s National Team Roster by Position (Club; Games/Goals):
DOORS (3): Adrianna Franch (Kansas City Current; 10), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 12), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 87)
DEFENDERS (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign; 21/0), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage; 24/0), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 128/24), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC; 12/ 0) ), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign; 27/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 212/0), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign; 70/1)
MEDIA (6): Lindsey Horan (Olympic Lyon, FRA; 123/26), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC; 9/2), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 86/24), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC) ; 47/7), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 3/19), Andy Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 3/39)
FORWARD (7): Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 5/15), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC; 201/120), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 4/22), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 197/ 63), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit; 12/2), Mallory Swanson (Chicago Red Stars; 84/28), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 49/15)
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