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Four Washington Spirit players named to revamped USWNT squad

Ashley Sanchez, left, and Ashley Hatch were named to the 22-player U.S. roster for two friendlies in Australia late this month. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
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Four Washington Spirit players were named to the U.S. women’s national soccer team for two friendlies late this month in Australia, the start of Coach Vlatko Andonovski’s efforts to revamp the roster heading toward the 2023 World Cup.

Two players with ample international experience, defender Emily Sonnett and midfielder Andi Sullivan, were joined by two attackers eager to make a lasting impression after enjoying superb seasons in the National Women’s Soccer League: forward Ashley Hatch and midfielder-forward Ashley Sanchez.

Hatch, 26, won the Golden Boot as the NWSL’s leading scorer and recorded the winning goal Sunday in extra time during a 1-0 first-round playoff victory over the North Carolina Courage. She was in U.S. camp last fall but has not appeared in a match since 2018.

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Sanchez, 22, is seeking her senior international debut after starring for junior national teams for several years.

Sullivan, 25, has been in the U.S. mix for five years and made 20 appearances but has yet to earn a place on a World Cup or Olympic squad. She started in the most recent U.S. match, an Oct. 26 friendly against South Korea.

Sonnett, 27, has played in 61 U.S. games.

Spirit forward Trinity Rodman, 19, was invited but “opted out,” Andonovski said.

All but one of the 22 players summoned by Andonovski are from NWSL clubs; the exception is attacker Catarina Macario from French power Olympique Lyonnais.

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The Portland Thorns, the top seeds in the NWSL playoffs, led the way with five players, followed by four apiece from the Spirit and OL Reign, Washington’s semifinal opponent Sunday in Tacoma, Wash.

Players will report to the U.S. squad Nov. 22, two days after the NWSL championship game in Louisville. The top-ranked Americans will face the No. 11 Australians in Sydney on Nov. 27 (Nov. 26 in the United States) and in Newcastle on Nov. 30.

After a four-game post-Olympic tour, Andonovski pivoted to the future by injecting fresh talent into a roster that showed its age at the Summer Games in Tokyo. The Americans were sluggish in most of the tournament and lost to Canada in the semifinals before defeating Australia for the bronze medal.

This roster features 10 members of the Olympic team and 12 players with 10 international appearances or fewer, including five seeking their first: Sanchez, Portland goalkeeper Bella Bixby, North Carolina keeper Casey Murphy, Reign forward Bethany Balcer and Portland forward Morgan Weaver.

Just six players are from the 2019 World Cup squad and two are 30 or older: defender Becky Sauerbrunn and midfielder Kristie Mewis. Carli Lloyd, 39, retired from the national team two weeks ago and some veterans are injured, requested time off or were passed over.

The absences include Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Sam Mewis, Crystal Dunn, Kelley O’Hara, Julie Ertz and Alyssa Naeher.

U.S. roster

Goalkeepers: Bella Bixby (Portland Thorns), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage).

Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Abby Dahlkemper (Houston), Tierna Davidson (Chicago), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit).

Midfielders: Lindsey Horan (Portland), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyonnais), Kristie Mewis (Houston), Ashley Sanchez (Washington), Andi Sullivan (Washington).

Forwards: Bethany Balcer (OL Reign), Ashley Hatch (Washington), Margaret Purce (Gotham FC), Sophia Smith (Portland), Lynn Williams (North Carolina), Morgan Weaver (Portland).

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