USWNT roster: Catarina Macario ‘recovering well’ from ACL tear

Catarina Macario tore her ACL during a June matchup with her French club Lyon. (Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

U.S. women’s national soccer coach Vlatko Andonovski announced the 23-player roster for the team’s September friendlies Monday.

Andonovski spoke with media following the announcement, providing insight into his selections and the trajectory of the USWNT ahead of the 2023 World Cup.

Catarina Macario continues ACL recovery

Catarina Macario is on the mend after tearing her ACL during a June matchup with her French club Lyon.

Macario is “recovering well,” Andonovski told reporters Monday, and the 22-year-old soon will be visiting a special clinic in Qatar to do extra rehab for five weeks.

The star forward missed out on the USWNT’s Concacaf title run and likely will be sidelined for through December. Andonvski and the USWNT will be eager to get Macario back in the rotation, with the Ballon d’Or nominee an integral piece of the United States’ attack.

In Macario’s absence, veteran Alex Morgan has staked her claim at the No. 9 position, putting on a stellar performance for club and country.

Andonovski has his eye on NWSL goalkeepers

Alyssa Naeher, Casey Murphy and Aubrey Kingsbury kept their places on the USWNT roster, with Andonvski opting to maintain a consistent lineup in goal.

When asked by Steph Yang of The Athletic about the USWNT prospects for Adrianna Franch, who has been playing impeccably for the Kansas City Current this season, Andonovski said the little details make the difference.

“The goalkeeper pool for use of the national team is big, and the competition is very steep,” said Andonovski, adding that OL Reign’s Phallon Tullis-Joyce, Portland’s Bella Bixby and Racing Louisville’s Katie Lund are also on his radar.

Naeher and Murphy have emerged as the top two candidates for the starting goalkeeper position ahead of the 2023 World Cup, but the backup spots seemingly are still in play.

World Cup preparation has officially begun

Fans may have their eyes on the USWNT’s October friendly against England, but Andonovski does not. The USWNT coach said his focus remains trained on the World Cup.

When asked if the 23-player September roster will mirror the squad heading to Wembley Stadium, Andonovski said he couldn’t promise a twin roster.

“We are not coaching with an eye toward the next game, we’re actually coaching with an eye toward the World Cup,” Andonovski said. “Everything we do now is a preparation for the World Cup.”

With that said, Andonovski added that he is pleased with the direction the USWNT is moving as the squad continues to take shape ahead of the tournament in Australia.

“I’m happy where we’re at, we’re on the right track, moving in the right direction. We’re still trying to find the right mix of youth ad experience,” Andonovski said. “We see that change, we see the mix coming along together. Now with that, we need to work on the little things and evolve as the game evolves.”

The USWNT will face Nigeria on Sept. 3 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas, with kickoff set for 1:30 p.m. ET on Fox. The second contest is scheduled for Sept. 6 at Audi Field in Washington, D.C., with kickoff at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN2.