USWNT announces roster for April friendlies against Uzbekistan

(Jesse Louie/Just Women's Sports)

The 23-person U.S. women’s national team roster for two April friendlies against Uzbekistan was announced Tuesday, with a mix of familiar and new faces set to take the field.

Of the 23 players, 21 currently play in the NWSL. Two – Catarina Macario and Lindsey Horan – will be making the trip back from overseas. The friendlies, which were announced in March, are the second-to-last group of games before World Cup and Olympic qualifying.

“We have four games left before World Cup and Olympic qualifying and it’s up to the players and staff to maximize every minute we get together on the field and in the meeting room,” said coach Vlatko Andonovski. “We have quite a few injuries in our player pool that we are dealing with, but that also means more opportunities for other players and the chance to continue to deepen our roster as we continue to work to find the best combination of players to take to Mexico in July.”

The team is without defenders Becky Sauerbrunn and Tierna Davidson, who are both out with knee injuries. While Sauerbrunn is expected to return for the beginning of the NWSL season in May, Davidson is expected to miss the entirety of the season. Lynn Williams is also absent after suffering a season-ending leg injury during the Kansas City Current’s opening match of the NWSL Challenge Cup.

As a result, defender Naomi Girma will make her first appearance for the USWNT while Imani Dorsey will make her second.

In the midfield, Jaelin Howell and Ashley Sanchez will each attempt to replace Williams and gain more valuable USWNT experience.

Once again, it’s a relatively young roster for Andonovski. Just two players have 100 or more caps: Kelley O’Hara and Horan. On the other hand, there are 14 players with 15 caps or fewer. Nine of them have made appearances in the single digits.

It will be the USWNT’s first time playing against Uzbekistan, which is ranked 45th in FIFA’s world rankings and has yet to qualify for a World Cup or Olympics since becoming an independent country in 1991.