Lori Lindsey says Crystal Dunn ‘best utilized’ as outside back for USWNT

Which position should Crystal Dunn play for USWNT? (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

Crystal Dunn is returning to the U.S. women’s national soccer team three months after giving birth to her son in May. Her comeback is sparking debate about which position she should play for the squad.

The 2021 Concacaf Player of the Year will join the USWNT camp ahead of September friendlies against Nigeria.

While she will not feature in the friendlies, USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski expressed interest in getting Dunn on the field for the national team before the year’s end.

“What those minutes are going to look like, I cannot be more precise because we need to see where Crystal is right now when she comes into camp,” he said. “So far, we know that she’s ahead of schedule. She’s doing very well and it’s important for her to start integrating back into the environment because now she will have a little bit different challenges outside of playing soccer and we’re all excited for it.”

With Dunn back in the USWNT mix, the age-old question emerges: Where on the field should she play?

The 30-year-old was slotted into the left-back position under Jill Ellis and has remained on the backline during Andonovski’s tenure. But Dunn plays higher up the pitch for her NWSL club, the Portland Thorns.

With her proven ability to finish, take defenders one-on-one and create plays in the center of the pitch, some analysts have pushed for Dunn to join Andonovski’s midfield lineup.

Soccer analyst and former NWSL player Lori Lindsey, however, would like to see Dunn assume her usual position on the USWNT’s defensive line.

“I think with Crystal on this squad, she’s going most utilized and best utilized as an outside back,” said Lindsey on the Attacking Third Podcast.

Host Lisa Roman disagreed, making her case for Dunn in the center of the park.

“I want to see her in the midfield,” Roman said.

“Over who?” interjected both Lindsey and USWNT player-turned-broadcaster Aly Wagner, referring to the stacked midfield roster, which includes Catarina Macario and Rose Lavelle.

As a new era of Dunn’s career kicks off, the debate on where to best use the star continues.