Most of the names are the same, but the affiliations — and league timetables — have changed.
The 23-player roster, announced Tuesday by Coach Vlatko Andonovski, includes Manchester City’s Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis, Manchester United’s Christen Press and Tobin Heath, and Tottenham Hotspur’s Alex Morgan.
All signed with Women’s Super League clubs as the NWSL was completing a season truncated by the coronavirus pandemic. It will not restart until the spring. English teams are 2½ months into an eight-month campaign.
“From the physical perspective, they are going to be a little bit ahead of the group that is in the United States,” Andonovski said. “That will help on the field but also in the training environment because ultimately, even though we are going there to win this game, we also want to raise the standards and continue building on what we started at the beginning of this year.”
The group also features defender Emily Sonnett, who played this fall for Gothenburg in Sweden before returning to the Orlando Pride, and Paris Saint-Germain defender Alana Cook.
Mewis has appeared in all seven Manchester City matches, scoring twice, while Lavelle has played four. Heath (two goals) and Press (one) have made five United appearances apiece. Morgan has logged 66 minutes with Tottenham in her first two games in any competition since giving birth to her first child in May.
Although Morgan is not in top fitness and form yet, “We are not looking as much into her performance as we are looking more at her getting quality minutes because I know the quality Alex has,” Andonovski said.
“She has already proved she is a quality player and she can make [an] impact on this team and she can make [an] impact on the international level,” he said.
Andonovski also cited Morgan’s leadership qualities on a squad with six players who have appeared in two or fewer U.S. matches.
Sixteen call-ups are from NWSL teams, including Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe and forward Ashley Hatch. Teammate Andi Sullivan, a top U.S. prospect, continues rehabbing a knee injury.
Stanford’s Catarina Macario, a Brazilian-born midfielder and the only college player on the squad, is awaiting FIFA clearance after receiving U.S. citizenship. She will train with the team but, barring late approval, will not be in uniform against the Netherlands.
Andonovski will select 18 players for the game-day roster, the Americans’ first match since the SheBelieves Cup in March. He was able to conduct a training camp in greater Denver last month without any games.
Several World Cup players were not invited. Among them, Carli Lloyd and Mallory Pugh are recovering from injuries, and Megan Rapinoe is not in match fitness after opting out of the NWSL Challenge Cup in the summer and the league’s fall series.
Lloyd and Rapinoe have not been in a team environment of any kind since the SheBelieves Cup. Andonovski said both are excited about training camp in January and the Olympics next summer.
The squad traveling to the Netherlands late this week features 14 players from the 2019 world championship team. The delegation received an exemption from quarantine provided to pro sports organizations and, the U.S. Soccer Federation said, everyone will be tested for the coronavirus before traveling, upon arrival and every two days thereafter. The team will not begin full training until results of all arrival tests are confirmed. The U.S. men’s team followed similar protocols for recent friendlies at Wales and against Panama in Austria.
“I don’t think it would be human if you didn’t have some concern,” Andonovski said, “but I’m 100 percent confident in the tremendous work that has gone on behind the scenes.”
Goalkeepers: Aubrey Bledsoe (Washington Spirit), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars).
Defenders: Alana Cook (Paris Saint-Germain), Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals), Margaret Purce (Sky Blue), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns), Emily Sonnett (Orlando Pride).
Midfielders: Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), Rose Lavelle (Manchester City), Catarina Macario (Stanford), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (Manchester City).
Forwards: Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Tobin Heath (Manchester United), Alex Morgan (Tottenham Hotspur), Christen Press (Manchester United), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage).
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