If you’re looking for variation on the most recent U.S. women’s national team roster, you won’t find much.
USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski’s squad for the upcoming friendlies against Germany looks largely the same as his roster in October, even after back-to-back losses against England and Spain.
Alex Morgan and Mallory Pugh are back on the forward line, and goalkeeper AD Franch has been called up for the first time since 2021. But those are the biggest changes to the makeup of the team heading into the final matches of 2022.
Andonovski has been hesitant to experiment with his lineup too much this year as he waits for a number of key pieces to return from injuries or pregnancy absences. Kelley O’Hara, Emily Sonnett, Lynn Williams, Catarina Macario and even Christen Press could be available again in early 2023, Andonovski said Monday.
“After Concacaf, one of our main ideas was that we now can focus on putting certain groups of players together for a longer period of time during games,” Andonovski said. “And then injuries happened with Alex, with Mal. And then injuries happen with other players that are playing in the fullbacks position.
“So it is hard for our midfielders to get consistency with the players around, that’s just the time that we go through those. We can’t help it, injuries are a part of the game. Once we get a little more consistency for players who have been on the field, like Lindsey [Horan] and Rose [Lavelle], once they get consistency with the players around them, those passes will happen a little more frequently because they’re gonna be on the same page.”
Andonovski also has been vocal about roster cohesion as the team looks ahead to next summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
“Preparing for the World Cup is a long process,” he said ahead of the team’s friendlies against Nigeria in September. “And I’ve been very happy with how our team understands that process, is willing to do the work and is making positive strides every camp to get us to where we want to be next summer.”
The coach has singled out Sophia Smith, Andi Sullivan, Mallory Pugh and Emily Fox in particular as mainstays on the roster as the team moves forward in 2023 and beyond.
“They’re going to be here for three, maybe four World Cups,” he said following the team’s Concacaf win, “so get used to them.”