Megan Rapinoe was among the injury absences as the U.S. women's national team released its roster for this month's friendlies against Paraguay, while Christen Press has opted out to focus on her mental health.
The USWNT will face Paraguay on September 16 in Cleveland and September 21 in Cincinnati in their first matches since winning the bronze medal at the Olympics this summer.
The roster was originally intended to be the same squad as the Olympics, but Rapinoe, Sam Mewis, Julie Ertz and Alyssa Naeher are out with injuries, while Press has taken a brief step back from the game. Andi Sullivan, Sophia Smith and Mallory Pugh were added to the roster.
What was said?
“We have a few players with injuries so we needed to add some depth to the roster and Andi, Sophia and Mal are not only having quality seasons for their NWSL teams, but they can also play multiple positions,” said USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski in a federation release.
“All the players will be played in as they’ve had a few matches with their clubs, so we’re planning on getting a quality start to our run to World Cup qualifying while also managing their workload as the majority of players will head back to their teams for the stretch run to the NWSL playoffs.”
Press takes a step back
In a post on Instagram, Press explained why she would not be participating in the friendlies.
"I’ve been a professional player for 10 years. And I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve been available for nearly every professional match for both club and country," the forward said.
"And yet, that has come with a focus, intensity, and prioritization that has left little room for much else. I’ve made the difficult decision to take some time away from the game to focus on my mental health, spiritual growth, and processing grief.
"I’m sad to miss the upcoming games and seeing all of our wonderful fans. I believe I will come back stronger than ever. Thanks for all your support on my journey."
Press was recently confirmed as the first signing for NWSL expansion outfit Angel City FC, which will begin play next season.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Adrianna Franch (Kansas City NWSL)
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (Houston Dash), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyon, FRA), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)
FORWARDS (6): Tobin Heath (Arsenal, ENG), Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage)