In some ways the 2019 USWNT roster is the easiest USWNT in years to predict.
The forwards are pretty much set, the midfielders are too, defenders are all here and accounted for and unless Adrianna Franch somehow hurts herself again the goalkeeper corps have assembled.
On the other hand trying to figure out how Jill Ellis rates two players that are both unlikely to see the pitch much (if at all) is an exercise in frustration.
But the show must go on and rosters don’t form themselves on a blank page.
I hate to give spoilers this early but Alyssa Naeher, Ashlyn Harris and Adrianna Franch are the goalkeepers for the 2019 Women’s World Cup for the USWNT.
The three net minders have been one of the more constant positions under Jill Ellis in the last year. So unless one of them takes a knock, Jane Campbell will be left behind.
What’s more, we probably know who is going to play every minute, barring emergency. If history follows the same pattern we usually see from the US in major events, Harris and Franch will be called upon only if Naeher somehow loses the ability to use both of her legs. Just one might not be enough to cause a goalkeeper switch for the US.
All in all this is maybe the most stable and easy to call group on the roster.
Most of the defenders are pretty easy to pick out. Keyword there is most.
Unless they somehow take a knock that sends them into the middle of next week Abby Dahlkemper, Becky Sauerbrunn, Crystal Dunn, Kelley O’Hara, and Tierna Davidson are locks.
But five defenders does not a defensive core make.
Likely two out of the trio of Casey Short, Emily Sonnett, and Ali Krieger make the final roster. Krieger is the surprise here, having been put back on the radar in the last round of USWNT friendlies.
My money is on Sonnett and Short. But Krieger’s mix of experience and Short’s apparent lack of favor from Ellis might shift that scale enough for her to slip just out of the final 23.
Allie Long and McCall Zerboni are going to France. If you had suggested that to me in 2017, I would have belly laughed over it. But Ellis has seemly chosen them as the back up players for when she needs to put out something other than her best XI, or if she needs to make a late sub.
The easy picks here–Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan, Sam Mewis, Rose Lavelle–make the roster in a walk. The four of them have been playing at varying levels of great for a while now.
There was a time when Andi Sullivan and Morgan Brian were easy picks here too but it seems that time has passed. Danielle Colaprico too seems to be on the outside looking in this round.
Alex Morgan, Christen Press, Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath and Mallory Pugh are France-bound in all circumstances less the catastrophic. Regardless of your feelings on her, Carli Lloyd looks to be included there as well.
My wild card here is Jessica McDonald.
McDonald is a throw back to the style of forward that is just bigger, stronger and able to be where you don’t want her to be when she needs to be. She doesn’t have the raw speed of a Press or a Morgan or the flair of a Heath or a Rapinoe but in a tough game she could be a difference maker.
Who goes to France and who doesn’t is more or less set. Ellis has shown us in the last year who she puts out against the top teams in the world and who sits in the stands.
The 23 below are a solid team. Time will tell if they are Jill Ellis’ idea of one. NamePOSCapsGoalsClub TeamAdrianna Franch GK 1 0 Portland Thorns Alyssa Naeher GK 43 0 Chicago Red Stars Ashlyn Harris GK 21 0 Orlando Pride Abby Dahlkemper DF 37 0 North Carolina Courage Becky Sauerbrunn DF 155 0 Utah Royals Casey Short DF 27 0 Chicago Red Stars Crystal Dunn DF 83 24 North Carolina Courage Emily Sonnett DF 31 0 Portland Thorns Kelley O’Hara DF 115 2 Utah Royals Tierna Davidson DF 19 1 Chicago Red Stars Allie Long MF 42 6 Reign FC Julie Ertz MF 79 18 Chicago Red Stars Lindsey Horan MF 66 8 Portland Thorns McCall Zerboni MF 9 0 North Carolina Courage Rose Lavelle MF 24 6 Washington Spirit Sam Mewis MF 47 9 North Carolina Courage Alex Morgan FW 160 101 Orlando Pride Carli Lloyd FW 271 107 Sky Blue FC Christen Press FW 113 47 Utah Royals Jessica McDonald FW 7 2 North Carolina Courage Mallory Pugh FW 50 15 Washington Spirit Megan Rapinoe FW 150 44 Reign FC Tobin Heath FW 147 28 Portland Thorns