USWNT manager Ellis calls on experienced squad for World Cup qualifying

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Ezra Shaw
The U.S. will begin the road to France against Mexico on Oct. 4, and will then face Panama and Trinidad & Tobago in Cary, N.C.

U.S. women's national team head coach Jill Ellis has named an experienced 20-player roster for World Cup qualifying next month. 

There were few surprises on the defending World Cup champion's roster, which was cut down from the 35-player preliminary squad that was named earlier this month. 

UCLA defender Hailie Mace, who has just two caps, is the most inexperienced member of a veteran-laden squad set to take part in the Concacaf Women's Championship.

Midfielder McCall Zerboni (elbow) and defender Tierna Davidson (ankle) both missed out on the roster due to injuries. 

The U.S. will take on Mexico, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago in Cary, N.C. in Group A, with the top two teams advancing to the semifinals.

The two semifinal winners will advance to next summer's World Cup in France, as will the winner of the third-place match. The fourth-place finisher will earn a spot in a two-game playoff against Argentina.

The semifinals, third-place game and final are set to take place in Frisco, Texas. 

"We feel really good about the process that has gotten us to this point, and the final selection of this group," Ellis said in a federation release.

"We've had a couple of injuries recently, but the depth of our pool is excellent, and I have confidence that each of the 20 players will perform at their highest level when called upon in these games. Our group is prepared and highly motivated to earn the right to be a part of France 2019." 

Roster by Position (Caps/Goals)

GOALKEEPERS (2): Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 17/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 33/0)

DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 23/0), Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 69/23), Hailie Mace (UCLA; 2/0), Kelley O'Hara (Utah Royals FC; 108/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 143/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 25/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 21/0)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 79/6), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 66/16), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 56/6), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 13/3), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 38/7)

FORWARDS (6): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 138/21), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 259/102), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 147/90), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 104/45), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 37/12), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 140/38) 

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