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USWNT World Cup squad announced: Which 23 players made Jill Ellis' roster?

15:13 GMT+3 03/05/2019
Rapinoe Lloyd Morgan split
Jill Ellis has named her roster for this summer's tournament in France, where the USA will look to defend their title as world champions

With just over a month until the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup kicks off in France, United States women's national team coach Jill Ellis has named her 23-woman roster.

The USWNT will take on Chile, Sweden and Thailand in Group F this summer, with them firm favorites to top that group in the bid to retain their world title.

Most of Ellis' final squad has been all but confirmed for many months now, but that didn't stop a handful of surprise names from sneaking in at the expense of some familiar faces.


Who made the USWNT's 23-woman roster?


The three goalkeepers named are as expected, with the Chicago Red Stars' Alyssa Naeher to be first choice ahead of the Portland Thorns' Adrianna Franch and the Orlando Pride's Ashlyn Harris.

The biggest surprise on the roster is that of full-back Ali Krieger, the Orlando Pride star back in the squad after two years out of the picture.

Krieger was called up for the USWNT's recent friendlies against Australia and Belgium and, despite only playing in the latter fixture, comes into the squad to provide cover for the Utah Royals' Kelley O'Hara on the right.

O'Hara, who had ankle surgery at the back end of last year, is the only other natural full-back in the squad, although center-backs Tierna Davidson, of the Chicago Red Stars, and Emily Sonnett, of the Portland Thorns, are versatile enough to also operate in that position.

The North Carolina Courage's Crystal Dunn, top-scorer in this season's NWSL, will play out of position at left-back as is common on her international duties, while teammate Abby Dahlkemper and Becky Sauerbrunn of the Utah Royals complete the defenders.

More surprises come in midfield, where the Reign's Allie Long and the Chicago Red Stars' Morgan Brian feature despite missing the last few months through injuries.

Brian's clubmate, Julie Ertz, is the only natural defensive midfielder on the roster, which has unsurprising places for Lindsey Horan of the Portland Thorns, Washington Spirit's Rose Lavelle and North Carolina Courage's Samantha Mewis.

There is plenty of experience going forward, as captain Carli Lloyd prepares to make her fourth World Cup appearance.

The Sky Blue star, who scored a hat-trick in the 2015 final against Japan, often features in midfield but can also provide back up for the Orlando Pride striker, Alex Morgan.

Wingers Tobin Heath, of the Portland Thorns, and Megan Rapinoe, of the Reign, are heading to their third World Cup tournaments,  

Christen Press, scorer of the Utah Royals' only goal as they beat the Pride on Sunday, joins them, as do the North Carolina Courage's Jessica McDonald and the Washington Spirit's Mallory Pugh.

Both will be heading to their first World Cup finals, despite a significant age gap of 10 years.

McDonald, who celebrated her 31st birthday in February, has become a part of Ellis' plans at a late stage in her career, and has impressed in scoring twice in her seven caps thus far.

Pugh, meanwhile, will be one of the young players to watch this summer, although she is very well known to women's football fans having earned 50 caps, and scored 15 goals, since making her debut at 17-years-old.


Who didn't make the World Cup 2019 squad for the US?


Those from recent squads to miss out include Casey Short and Emily Fox, both players who could provide cover in the full-back positions where the world champions lack depth.

Both went to the SheBelieves Cup earlier this year, but Short's place has gone to Krieger, while 20-year-old Fox's call-up seemingly came too soon in her career for her to impress just yet.

McCall Zerboni's omission also means a lack of cover for Ertz, with the North Carolina Courage's defensive midfielder one of those to make way for the returns of Brian and Long.

Andi Sullivan, of the Washington Spirit, is another SheBelieves Cup squad member who doesn't make the cut.

Meghan Klingenberg, Sydney Leroux and Amy Rodriguez have all been largely out of the picture since helping Ellis' side to glory four years ago in Canada.


Full roster


Goalkeepers: Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars).

Defenders: Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (NC Courage), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), Kelley O'Hara (Utah Royals FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC).

Midfielders: Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit), Allie Long (Reign FC), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage).

Forwards: Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Jessica McDonald (NC Courage), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC).