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Lindsey Horan: New USWNT faces could be ‘biggest threat’ to opponents

Lindsey Horan thinks USWNT newcomers, including 18-year-old Alyssa Thompson, could be the team's secret weapon at the 2023 World Cup. (John Todd/USSF/Getty Images)

The U.S. women’s national team will bring 14 World Cup newcomers to Australia and New Zealand this summer. Lindsey Horan sees them as the team’s secret weapon as it looks to win its third consecutive World Cup.

“We have a lot of new young players, new players in general. I think it’s exciting,” she told Fox Soccer. “I think maybe a lot of people and a lot of nations don’t know much about these players. And I think that’s going to be the biggest threat going into this tournament.

“Maybe people don’t think we’re as great as we possibly could be right now or we can’t do it again. But I think we’re gonna be incredible and going into the tournament we’ll put all the pieces together.”

This year’s USWNT roster features 14 players who will make their World Cup debuts, from 18-year-old Alyssa Thompson to 32-year-old Kristie Mewis.

While the team also features a number are seasoned veterans, including the 29-year-old midfielder Horan, almost two-thirds of the players on roster will be new to the World Cup stage.

One such player Horan isn’t worried about is star forward Sophia Smith, who is headed into the World Cup in peak form, as the 22-year-old showed with a hat trick in the Portland Thorns’ 4-2 win over the Washington Spirit in Friday’s send-off game.

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“The first person that comes to mind is Sophia Smith,” Horan said when asked about players to watch. “Obviously a close friend of mine, a little sister to me. But she’s been absolutely incredible. She’s so confident right now and just killing it.”

Horan also pointed to defender Emily Fox and midfielder Savannah DeMelo as up-and-coming stars.

“(Fox has) been outstanding for our national team and she’s really come into her own and the confidence level in her has been amazing,” Horan said. “There’s also names like Savannah DeMelo that maybe a lot of people don’t know, but she’s scoring in every single game in Louisville right now. So I’m very, very excited to see what comes for her.”