USWNT will have a different look in coming months

Some familiar faces are rejoining the U.S. women for next month’s friendlies against Germany, with more to come in the next few months.

Forwards Alex Morgan and Mallory Pugh, both of whom were in the running for NWSL MVP, were among 24 players on the roster announced Monday for the Germany games. Morgan missed the losses against England and Spain earlier this month with a knee injury, while Pugh withdrew because of a family commitment.

The USWNT also gets back midfielder Taylor Kornieck, who missed the European swing with an ankle injury, and defender Emily Fox, who was knocked out with a concussion midway through the first half against England.

And in a surprising move, coach Vlatko Andonovski called in goalkeeper Adrianna Franch for the games against Germany. The USWNT will play the two-time World Cup champion and runner-up in this year’s European Championship on Nov. 10 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Nov. 13 in Harrison, New Jersey.

Despite a spectacular season for the Kansas City Current, which lost to the Portland Thorns in the NWSL Championship on Saturday, Franch was not on the roster for the Concacaf championship in July that served as a qualifier for next summer’s World Cup and the Paris Olympics in 2024. She also was left off the roster for the friendlies against England and Spain.

“This is another opportunity for me to say that, yes, the form in the league matters and if you’re doing well on a consistent basis, you will be called back. Regardless of what your status was in the past,” Andonovski said.

Andonovski also said midfielder Catarina Macario is making good progress in her recovery from a torn ACL and could be back playing in February if there are no setbacks. He also said he expects defenders Tierna Davidson and Kelley O’Hara, along with forward Lynn Williams, to be available for the January camp.

Crystal Dunn is still on minutes restrictions after having son Marcel in May, but Andonovski said he hopes she can play more than she did in the friendlies earlier this month.  

“This team may look slightly different or somewhat different three months or four months or five months from now,” Andonovski said. “So that’s why I want to say some of these things we understand we have to get better at. No matter what, we have to address it. We have to work on it. We have to get better.

“But there are some things that may change just by changing personnel.”

That’s not an insignificant statement, given those USWNT losses earlier this month.

Short-handed and feeling the weight of the Yates report that revealed a culture of systemic abuse in the NWSL and indifference to it by both the league and U.S. Soccer, the Americans lost to England in a sold-out Wembley Stadium. Four days later, they looked overmatched while getting beat by Spain’s B team.

But the return of some of these players will change the atmosphere – and abilities – of this team. So, too, the Americans knowing their opponents at next summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Andonovski said the USWNT hopes to play nine matches in the lead-up to the World Cup, where the Americans will try to become the first team to three-peat as champions.

“Every match is important. Every training is important. Every meeting is important,” Andonovski said. “And everybody in the environment understands the importance of every second that we spend together.”

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