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Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe headline USWNT World Cup qualifying roster

Rose Lavelle, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe celebrate during the 2019 Women’s World Cup France final. (Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe have made the cut for the U.S. women’s national team’s World Cup qualifying roster.

The veteran forwards are among the 23 players on coach Vlatko Andonovski’s 23-player Concacaf W Championship roster, released Monday. The eight-team tournament, set in Mexico in July, will decide four automatic berths to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, as well as one berth to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In addition to the roster, Andonovski named three alternates who will join the squad for the June camp and friendlies against Colombia. Defender Carson Pickett and midfielders Sam Coffey and Jaelin Howell will report to Colorado and Utah for the USWNT’s June 25 and 28 matches against Colombia.

“Since we were last together in April, we’ve been evaluating a lot of games and hours of video and have had extensive conversations among the coaching staff to arrive at this 26-player roster for the Colombia games and the final 23 for qualifying,” Andonovski said in a statement. “As usual, the players don’t make these decisions easy, but we feel this is a roster that can accomplish all of our goals over the four weeks we will be together for what we hope will be seven successful games.”

USWNT Concacaf W Championship 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 FC), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit)

Midfielders: Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)

Forwards: Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC)

Top takeaways

  • No Christen Press: Christen Press has been a mainstay for the USWNT in big tournaments but has been absent from the squad’s roster as of late. The veteran striker appeared in solid form for Angel City this season before suffering an apparent knee injury in the NWSL club’s Sunday game, having to be helped off the field by the trainer. But according to Andonovski, she wouldn’t have made the roster even at full health.
  • First caps: Midfielder Taylor Kornieck earned her first USWNT call-up after fielding consistent performances with the San Diego Wave, notching two goals and an assist on the season. Alternates Pickett and Sam Coffey also earned their inaugural USWNT call-ups. Pickett is leading the NWSL in chances created, averaging 2.5 per 90 minutes from the Courage’s backline, while Coffey has been a steadying force for the Thorns’ midfield.
  • Megan Rapinoe is back: USWNT veteran Megan Rapinoe made Andonovski’s World Cup qualifying roster despite appearing in just four matches for 154 minutes this season with OL Reign. With Lynn Williams and Catarina Macario injured, however, space has opened up on the team’s frontline. Rapinoe’s propensity to show up in big moments makes her hard for Andonovski to leave off his roster in consequential tournaments.