Ellis names familiar roster for USWNT, Colombia matches

Morgan Brian

by TOM SLATER

United States Women’s National Team coach Jill Ellis named her 23-player roster for a two-match set with Colombia, picking many of the players from the World Cup championship team.

The United States will play Colombia twice in April: on April 6 in Hartford and on April 10 in Philadelphia.

Although Ellis called in 23 players in camp, she will only dress 18 for each match. The United States will train for six days in Orlando to prepare for the two matches.

“We don’t have that many international matches before the Olympics, so every game takes on increased importance as far as the performance of the players, the evolution of the relationships among the positions and the overall growth of the team,” said Ellis. “Most of the players will be coming in from NWSL pre-seasons so we expect everyone to be sharp and we are looking forward to the challenges that a team like Colombia will present as we continue our Olympic preparations.”

Twenty-one of the 23 players were selected for the SheBelieves Cup, played in March. Two new call-ups include Allie Long, a Portland Thorns midfielder with four caps, and another teenager in Ashley Sanchez, the 17-year-old striker who is captain of the US U17 squad. She scored five goals to lead the Americans to the U17 FIFA CONCACAF championship and a berth in U17 Women’s World Cup. This is her first call-up to the senior team.

The rest of the squad is familiar. Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, Kelley O’Hara, Morgan Brian, Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath – all veterans – are back along with relative newcomers Lindsey Horan, Sam Mewis, Mallory Pugh and Crystal Dunn.

Heather O’Reilly, a controversial omission by Ellis during Olympic Qualifying, was named to the roster again. She was named to the SheBelieves roster as well but did not see the field. O’Reilly did have a hat trick in FC Kansas City’s pre-season win last weekend.

Colombia is the 25th-ranked team in the world and last met the United States in a round of 16 match at the Women’s World Cup. The feature Lady Andrade, who has a bit of a history with the United States. She got into a scuffle with the now-retired Abby Wambach in the 2012 Olympics. Known for her trickery on the ball, Andrade signed with the Western New York Flash after the Women’s World Cup.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster By Position:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)

DEFENDERS (8): Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City)

FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado), Ashley Sanchez (So Cal Blues)

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      Torn ACL.