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Alex Morgan, Mallory Pugh return to USWNT for Germany friendlies

World Cup veterans Mallory Pugh, left, and Alex Morgan missed friendlies against England and Spain. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Alex Morgan and Mallory Pugh will return to the top-ranked U.S. women’s national soccer team for friendlies against No. 3 Germany, strengthening a squad that has lost consecutive matches for the first time in 5½ years.

After missing defeats to England and Spain, Morgan (knee injury) and Pugh (family reasons) will report to training camp in South Florida before the matches Nov. 10 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Nov. 13 in Harrison, N.J.

Both were among the top scorers and five MVP finalists in the National Women’s Soccer League this season. They will reunite with U.S. rising star Sophia Smith, who last week was awarded the league MVP trophy and on Saturday won the top award after the Portland Thorns’ 2-0 championship victory over the Kansas City Current at Audi Field.

Also returning to the 24-player U.S. squad is midfielder Taylor Kornieck, who withdrew from the European tour with an ankle injury, and left back Emily Fox, who missed the Spain game after suffering a concussion against England.

For the most part, Coach Vlatko Andonovski selected his usual personnel. One exception was goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, a 2019 World Cup roster member who helped Kansas City reach the final after a last-place finish in 2021. Franch was summoned for the first time in a year, winning the slot over Aubrey Kingsbury to join Alyssa Naeher and Casey Murphy in camp.

Alyssa Thompson, a 17-year-old forward, received her second call-up after debuting against England and Spain.

As Andonovski continues preparations for the World Cup next summer in Australia and New Zealand, several regulars remain unavailable because of injuries: Sam Mewis, Catarina Macario, Kelley O’Hara, Emily Sonnett, Tierna Davidson, Christen Press, Lynn Williams and Abby Dahlkemper. In addition, Julie Ertz and Casey Krueger have been inactive after giving birth this summer.

The Germany matches will mark the end of the team’s 2022 schedule. According to people familiar with the squad’s plans, the group is planning to reassemble in January for a camp in New Zealand and two friendlies against the New Zealand national team. (During the World Cup, the U.S. squad will be based in New Zealand, which is co-hosting the tournament with Australia.)

Andonovski said he is aiming to schedule nine World Cup tuneups in 2023.

USWNT drawn with Netherlands in World Cup group stage

Despite a perennially high FIFA ranking, Germany has not beaten the United States since the 2003 World Cup semifinals, a stretch of 15 games (0-10-5). It will, however, arrive here on a 9-1-0 streak, the loss coming to England in the European Championship final July 31 at Wembley Stadium.

“Now that we know the [World Cup] opponents, now that we know what the pathway to winning the World Cup is going to be, we can dive a little bit deeper into even more and more details,” Andonovski said. “Every match is important. Every training is important. Every meeting is important, and everybody in the environment understands the importance of every second that we spend together.”

Four Washington Spirit players made the roster: midfielders Ashley Sanchez and Andi Sullivan and forwards Trinity Rodman and Ashley Hatch.

Ticket sales are going well: close to 15,000 at 18,000-capacity DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale and about 24,000 at 25,000-seat Red Bull Arena in Harrison, according to the U.S. Soccer Federation.

U.S. roster

Goalkeepers: Adrianna Franch (Kansas City Current), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars).

Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Hailie Mace (Kansas City), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland).

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

Forwards: Ashley Hatch (Washington), Alex Morgan (San Diego), Mallory Pugh (Chicago), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington), Sophia Smith (Portland), Alyssa Thompson (Total Futbol Academy).

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