Last week, Vlatko Andonovski announced his first call-ups (USSoccer.com) as the brand new head coach of the United States Women’s National Team. Of the 24 players, three were called into their first USWNT camp: goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe, the NWSL’s 2018 Rookie of the Year, Imani Dorsey and dual national defender Alana Cook. A third uncapped player, Margaret “Midge” Purce, had been called into at least two previous USWNT camps, in 2018 and 2017. Other players called in who were not on the USA’s 2019 Women’s World Cup roster include outside back Casey Short, midfielder Andi Sullivan, and forward Lynn Williams.
Six players from the WWC roster are not available due to medical reasons: Tierna Davidson, Crystal Dunn, Ali Krieger, Kelley O’Hara, and Megan Rapinoe, all for injuries, plus Alex Morgan, who recently announced via People magazine that she is pregnant, with an expected delivery date of April 2020.
November 2019 Friendlies (TV Information)
vs. Sweden: Thursday, November 7th, 7:30 p.m. ET (TV: FS1)
vs. Costa Rica: Sunday, November 10th, 8:00 p.m. ET (TV: ESPN2)
For each friendly, only eighteen players will be on the gameday roster, so, from this camp roster, two goalkeepers and four field players will not suit up for at least one match.
U.S. WNT ROSTER – SWEDEN & COSTA RICA FRIENDLIES (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS)
Aubrey Bledsoe (Washington Spirit; 0/0)
Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 3/0)
Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 23/0)
Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 56/0)
Alana Cook (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA; 0/0)
Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 52/0)
Imani Dorsey (Sky Blue FC; 0/0)
Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 169/0)
Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 30/0)
Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 38/0)
Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 86/7)
Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 93/19)
Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 77/12)
Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 36/10)
Allie Long (Reign FC; 50/8)
Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 59/14)
Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 13/0)
Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 160/32)
Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 286/118)
Jessica McDonald (NC Courage; 13/2)
Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 128/49)
Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 60/18)
Margaret Purce (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0)
Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 19/4)
INDIVIDUAL PLAYER NOTES
Alex Morgan: Morgan will not be available for CONCACAF’s Olympic qualification tournament in January/February 2020, so the preferred starting center forward role is wide open for the likes of Christen Press, Carlie Lloyd, or even a Lynn Williams to claim. The unofficial word is that “her goal is to play at the  Olympics” (NBCSports.com), though given the timing of her expected delivery date of April 2020, that would be a tight, but not impossible timeline. In 2001, Joy Fawcett played in the WUSA six weeks after giving birth to her third child (Newsday.com). For Morgan, six weeks would put her at a mid-June return from a late April birth, while a June 1st return would be more likely if she had an early April birth. With the Olympic football tournament starting on July 22nd, and final rosters needing to be finalized some time before that (which is officially to be determined in a circular letter – official regulations), that likely only gives a few weeks of evaluation before a final decision has to be made. At this point, Andonovski needs to assume that Morgan most likely will not be available for the Olympics, whether due to fitness and/or sharpness issues.
Alana Cook (First Call-Up): Given her dual national status and recent call-up by England, this should be considered as a “due diligence” call-up in order to evaluate her in a USWNT camp and/or at least to show that the USWNT has an interest in her, before potentially “losing” her to England.
At only age 22 (born April 11, 1997), and with a height of 5’9″, Cook has a chance to be an anchor in the USA’s central defense for two solid WWC cycles (2023, 2027).
In October, Cook was called into England’s camp, but did not play in any matches. From the October Roster Round-Up:
Stanford Cardinal standout and current Paris Saint-Germain defender Alana Cook was called in as one of three “training players.” Cook, who was born in Massachusetts, is a dual national who has been in a number of USA youth camps, primarily during the 2013-2014 U-17 cycle, but also more recently with the U-23s, including their Nordic Cup victory in August, which was held in England. Cook played in all three matches, including against England’s U-23s (US Soccer – U-23 USWNT landing page). (Cook’s Stanford profile)
It does not appear that Cook has played in any official youth matches for the United States, so her FIFA nationality is likely not fixed to the USA, thus she should be eligible to play for both England and the USWNT in friendlies. As England is the host of the Women’s Euro in 2021, the earliest that the Lionesses could cap-tie Cook would likely be that tournament.
If Cook chooses the USA, the USWNT has a chance to cap-tie her as early as the Olympic qualifying tournament in January/February 2020. Or, perhaps at the 2020 Olympics, if Cook breaks into the top 18 of available players.
Margaret “Midge” Purce (Uncapped): Purce, who most recently played for the Portland Thorns, was called into at least two prior camps, both under Jill Ellis. Purce’s most recent prior call-up was in June 2018, but she had to withdraw prior to the friendlies against China due to a right sprained ankle. Previously, Purce was called-in for the 2017 Tournament of Nations in July-August 2017. For this camp, Purce is listed under her natural position of forward, but under Ellis, the rosters listed her as a defender (June 2018) and midfielder (July 2017). Born in 1995, Purce is a veteran of the USA’s 2012 U-17 WWC and 2014 U-20 WWC squads, and at age 24, is young enough to be a core player at the 2023 Women’s World Cup. (Harvard profile, Thorns profile)
Imani Dorsey (First Call-Up): A year younger than Purce, both played together on the same Catholic high school team, for Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney, Maryland (roughly ten miles north of Washington, D.C.). Dorsey went on to play at Duke University (profile), where she was the ACC Offensive Player of the Year in her senior year (2017). After Duke, Dorsey was drafted by Sky Blue FC in 2018, and won the NWSL Rookie of the Year award for that season. Dorsey has been in a number of USA youth camps, but did not make any FIFA U-17 or U-20 WWC rosters. Most recently, Dorsey competed in the 2019 U-23 Nordic Cup, where she scored a goal against England and earned a penalty against Sweden. Given that Dorsey is listed as a defender, trying her out at an outside back position seems the most likely
Aubrey Bledsoe (First Call-Up): Bledsoe, who will turn 28 later this month (born November 20, 1991), has been a standout goalkeeper going back to her college days at Wake Forest (profile). She has been in prior USA youth camps, primarily at the U-23 level, but also a U-18 call-up in 2010 for a friendly tournament at La Manga, Spain. In the NWSL, Bledsoe has played in at least 20 matches in both 2019 and 2018 (NWSL profile). She also won the Goalkeeper of the Year Award for 2019.
GENERAL LINE-UP PREDICTIONS
Goalkeeper: Anything other than Naeher starting against Sweden and Naeher or Harris starting against Costa Rica should be considered experimentation by Andonovski. If he thinks highly of Bledsoe, I could see her getting at least a half against Costa Rica.
Defenders: Of the capped players, Only Dahlkemper and Sauerbrunn are primarily centerbacks, so there is a good possibility of Cook appearing in one or both matches. Sonnett and Ertz are additional possibilities. For outside backs, Short appears to be a lock to start in one, if not both both matches. Absent experimenting with other players as outside back, such as Sullivan or Purce, it is also likely that Dorsey could be tested at outside back in one or both matches.
Midfielders and Forwards: A sufficient number of regular players are on the roster for these positions, so the actual line-up will depend more on the playing style/formation that Andonovski wants to try for these matches. There is unlikely to be major experimenting, but we could see a formation switch-up from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 diamond that relies more heavily on true midfielders, with only two forwards, such as Press and Lloyd up top.
See Also (links to add)
- Sweden’s Roster
- Costa Rica’s Roster