Vlatko Andonovski won’t commit to Alyssa Naeher as starter beyond Jamaica

(Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Alyssa Naeher will start in net for the USWNT during Thursday’s Concacaf W Championship match against Jamaica.

Yet while head coach Vlatko Andonovski confirmed her start Wednesday, he also said that the plans moving forward in the tournament remain up in the air. While Naeher, at 80 caps, has the most appearances of the goalkeeping trio, Casey Murphy excelled in her start Monday against Haiti.

“We have three very good goalkeepers, two of whom we’re going to see in this tournament,” said Andonovski. “We felt like it’s important for Casey to get a game in, and part of the reason why is also because, just looking back in our Olympic games. Alyssa got injured and we had to play a goalkeeper in two of our most important games who did not play one second before.”

The team will “decide how we’re going to move forward” following Naeher’s performance against Jamaica.

One threat that the team has its eye on is Jamaica’s Khadija “Bunny” Shaw, with USWNT defender Emily Fox highlighting the star as someone to watch out for. Shaw scored the lone goal for Jamaica in the team’s 1-0 win over Mexico to open the tournament.

“They have a great No. 9, Bunny (Shaw),” said Fox. “Her being able to hold up the ball and then distribute it to the wide players is something that I think Haiti also did a good job of.

“I think for us, being physical, communicating, working as a team defensively and also just winning the first ball and making sure that we can eliminate their threats early.”

Andonovski also pointed to Shaw as a threat, saying that the team expects Jamaica “to create challenges.”

“There are some similarities with Jamaica and Haiti, but I think that Bunny Shaw is just a little bit more powerful when she holds the ball, and obviously she’s got incredible abilities to distribute the ball,” said Andonovski.

The USWNT is set to kick off against Jamaica at 7 p.m. ET Thursday.