all scores

USWNT coach: ‘10-12 players are fighting for 6-7 spots’ on roster

SAINT LOUIS, MO - APRIL 11: Casey Krueger #20 of the United States with the ball during a game between Ireland and USWNT at CITYPARK on April 11, 2023 in Saint Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Bill Barrett/USSF/Getty Images).

The final two games for the U.S. women’s national team before coach Vlatko Andonovski names his World Cup roster have come and gone, and now the decision-making process starts.

Both of the games against Ireland ended in wins for the USWNT, but Andonovski called the entire week a “good test.”

“I feel pretty comfortable where we are at as a team,” he said after Tuesday’s game. “From the decision-making standpoint, there’s a group of players that we’re very comfortable with, and we can make [a] decision tonight.

“But also there is a group of players that we’re comfortable where they’re at but they’re still going to have to fight for a spot. Now it becomes a ‘game on.’ We have maybe 10 to 12 players that are fighting for six to seven spots.”

For Andonovski, Tuesday’s 1-0 win was more about evaluating individual players rather than looking at the whole team. That process involved bringing in players who had not been with the team for awhile, such as Casey Krueger, Tierna Davidson and Julie Ertz.

“There were several players that we wanted to evaluate,” he said, also mentioning Alyssa Thompson and Kelley O’Hara. “But also we wanted to give them minutes to get some of the rust off.

“It was good to see some of them on the field. I was happy for them. Ultimately, no matter what the goal is, no matter who is on the field, we always expected to win the game and we found a way to win this one.”

But the coaching staff also wanted to give these players minutes so that “if and when some of them make the World Cup, their first minutes are not in the World Cup.”

“It wasn’t about the team concept [tonight]. It wasn’t about us as a team. It was more about the individual players and obviously getting minutes to certain players,” he said. “The things that were missing is not something that worries me. Like I said, it was missing cohesion.

“It was missing understanding between the players, and we’re not surprised by that, because we knew the miscommunication will happen, or missed pass[es] happen, or a player makes a run and doesn’t get the ball, or makes a run to the left and gets the ball to the right. It’s something that we expect to happen, and it did make the game go a little bit wild at times, because we gave up the ball too quick after we won it.”