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USWNT roster features heavy D.C. presence for Audi Field friendly

Trinity Rodman, seen here seeking a goal vs. the Czech Republic at the SheBelieves Cup in February, will return to the U.S. national team for friendlies in Kansas City, Kan., and Washington. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

With six Washington Spirit players selected — and five others with local ties — almost half the U.S. women’s national soccer team chosen Monday for an upcoming camp and friendlies will feel right at home for the squad’s first appearance at Audi Field.

Following a perfect run at the Concacaf W Championship last month in Mexico, Coach Vlatko Andonovski kept his 23-player group almost entirely intact for matches against Nigeria on Sept. 3 in Kansas City, Kan., and Sept. 6 in Washington.

It includes Washington’s Trinity Rodman, Ashley Sanchez, Andi Sullivan, Kelley O’Hara, Ashley Hatch and Aubrey Kingsbury.

Five others have local connections: Becky Sauerbrunn, a University of Virginia graduate who played for the Washington Freedom, the Spirit’s predecessor; Emily Fox from Ashburn and Midge Purce from Silver Spring (and a former All-Met from Good Counsel); and former Spirit attackers Rose Lavelle and Mallory Pugh.

Washington’s Emily Sonnett, who is recovering from a foot injury, was the only player from the W Championship roster not selected.

Despite being winless since the NWSL opener, the Spirit (1-6-9) will continue to boast the largest contingent on the U.S. roster. Seattle’s OL Reign is represented by four players and the Portland Thorns and San Diego Wave by three apiece.

“I don’t think they’re in the best form they can be,” Andonovski said of Spirit players in league play. “But we’re very happy in how they perform when they’re in our environment. … There may be a point where we feel like somebody doesn’t deserve to be in our environment or in our camp, but as of right now we trust them.”

At the W Championship, Spirit players combined for 11 starts, led by Sullivan with four. Rodman, Sanchez and Sonnett scored one goal each.

Crystal Dunn, a former Spirit star who gave birth in May, will rejoin the squad for training purposes only. Andonovski said the left back is ahead of schedule and should be able to play in the October or November friendlies.

The only call-up from outside the NWSL was Olympique Lyonnais’s Lindsey Horan.

Several regulars remain unavailable: Catarina Macario, Sam Mewis, Christen Press, Lynn Williams and Tierna Davidson are injured; Abby Dahlkemper just returned from injury; and Julie Ertz and Casey Krueger are on maternity leave.

The U.S. visit to Audi Field will come after multiple failed attempts by the U.S. Soccer Federation and D.C. United to arrange a match at the four-year-old MLS stadium, which this season is hosting six of the Spirit’s 11 regular season home games. (Washington also plays at Segra Field in Leesburg.)

The Americans made 10 appearances at RFK Stadium between 1995 and 2017.

The top-ranked Americans will enter the matches against the No. 46 Super Falcons unbeaten in 19 straight since losing to Canada in the Olympic semifinals. Their success at the W Championship secured berths in the 2023 World Cup and 2024 Summer Olympics.

Like the United States, Nigeria has participated in every World Cup since 1991. Its American coach, Randy Waldrum, also oversees the University of Pittsburgh women’s team.

U.S. roster

Goalkeepers: Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars).

Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Kelley O’Hara (Washington), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns).

Midfielders: Sam Coffey (Portland), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyonnais), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington), Andi Sullivan (Washington).

Forwards: Ashley Hatch (Washington), Alex Morgan (San Diego), Mallory Pugh (Chicago), Midge Purce (Gotham FC), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington), Sophia Smith (Portland).