USWNT roster snubs: Mia Fishel, AD Franch still waiting in wings

AD Franch has not received consistent USWNT call-ups since the 2021 Olympics. (EM Dash/USA TODAY Sports)

U.S. women’s national team coach Vlatko Andonovski released his 24-player roster Thursday for the squad’s October friendlies against England and Spain.

While the biggest snub was forward Midge Purce, who has appeared in 11 games for the USWNT this year, several other players could have legitimate grips about their absence from the roster.

Mia Fishel

Fishel once again was left off the latest USWNT roster, despite Alex Morgan’s knee injury opening a spot on the forward lineup.

U.S. youth national team star Alyssa Thompson joined mainstays Sophia Smith, Mallory Pugh, Megan Rapinoe, Ashley Hatch and Trinity Rodman on Andonovski’s forward list, with Fishel nowhere to be found.

While Thompson has shown tremendous upside at 17 years old, Fishel is enjoying success at the professional level, leading Mexico’s Liga MX Golden Boot race. Logging 14 goals and four assists for Tigres Femenil so far in the 2022-2023 season, Fishel has emerged as a world-class finisher at the age of 21.

“So Mia is on our depth chart and is I wouldn’t be wouldn’t be able to say where she’s at,” Andonovski told reporters following the roster drop. “We’re monitoring her form and her performances I had a conversation with only a very good conversation. She understands where she’s at.”

Fishel was selected fifth overall in the 2022 NWSL draft by the Orlando Pride but opted to sign with Tigres Femenil instead.

AD Franch

Franch is no stranger to the USWNT. She joined the squad as a backup goalkeeper at the 2019 World Cup and then again at the Tokyo Olympics. But she has not received consistent call-ups since the bronze-medal run at the Summer Games in 2021.

Andonovski has put a strong emphasis on club form throughout his tenure with the USWNT, and he has shown a strong bias toward the NWSL, which makes Franch’s absence on the October roster particularly baffling.

The Kansas City Current keeper has registered five clean sheets, averaging 3.4 saves per 90 minutes, to help her club to a 10-6-5 record.

Andonovski, however, has opted for consistency over experimentation in the back, selecting Alyssa Naeher, Casey Murphy and Aubrey Kingsbury despite the deep and growing goalkeeper pool.

“I feel like we’ve talked more about the goalkeeper sometimes than some of the other positions but it is important and we were excited about it because ultimately that’s what we want,” Andonovski said, acknowledging the well of goalkeeping talent. “We do want good competition. We want the last in each position to push each other as much as possible and get better with it.”

Carson Pickett

Carson Pickett is another player who consistently has proven herself in the NWSL yet has failed to break through on the USWNT.

The North Carolina Courage defender leads the NWSL in assists with six through 19 matches, logging a staggering 47 chances created during the 2022 campaign.

In June, the 29-year-old earned her first USWNT cap under Andonovski, playing 90 minutes in a 2-0 win against Colombia.

Pickett fits well in the USWNT’s fullback system, boasting strong defensive abilities while triggering the team’s attack from the flanks.

“Carson did very well in training for us in last week and with the management of minutes for Emily Fox that we had, we felt like Carson would be a good replacement, and I’m happy that she was able to perform well for 90 minutes,” Andonovski told ESPN of Pickett’s debut.

While it’s difficult to argue against the inclusion of Crystal Dunn or Hailie Mace on the October roster, Pickett has proven herself worthy of a follow-up to her national team debut.