Defender Ali Krieger and midfielders Allie Long and Morgan Brian earned spots on the U.S. team that will defend its title at the Women’s World Cup.
All three were widely considered to be on the bubble for the 23-player roster announced Thursday by coach Jill Ellis.
Krieger started against Belgium on April 7, her first appearance since an exhibition against Russia on April 6, 2017. It will be the third World Cup for the 34-year-old right back, who has 99 international appearances.
The youngest player on the squad for the 2015 World Cup in Canada, Brian has struggled with injuries in recent years and has played just once this year, in a January exhibition against France. But the 26-year-old has experience, with 78 international appearances.
Long, 31, has been in and out of the national team after making playing in the 2016 Olympics.
“Selecting a World Cup team is a long process, and I want to thank the players – the ones that made the final team and the ones that didn’t – for all of their hard work over the past two and a half years,” Ellis said in a statement. “They all pushed each other in every training session and every game and challenged the coaches to make some tough decisions. These 23 players have been through adversity and success, and it’s a group that has the talent, confidence, experience and desire to help us win the World Cup.”
The tournament in France starts June 7, and the U.S. had first-round matches against Thailand, Chile and Sweden.
Carli Lloyd made her fourth World Cup squad, most among the players picked Thursday.
Lloyd, 36, scored three goals the 5-2 U.S. victory over Japan in the 2015 World Cup final in Canada, but she likely will have a support role in France, playing off the bench. The oldest player on the roster, she is among nine U.S. women to have played in four or more World Cups.
Defender Tierna Davidson, the U.S. Soccer Federation’s 2018 Young Player of the Year, is the youngest player on the roster at 20. Davidson skipped her senior season at Stanford and was taken with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s National Women’s Soccer League draft by the Chicago Red Stars.
In addition to Krieger, defenders Kelley O’Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn made their third World Cup team, joining forwards Tobin Heath, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe.
Crystal Dunn, the last player left off the roster for the 2015 World Cup, had 15 goals in the NWSL that year and is among 11 Americans headed to their first World Cup.
Players who didn’t make the roster but were also thought to be on the bubble were midfielders McCall Zerboni and Andi Sullivan, and defender Casey Short.
The roster must be submitted to FIFA by May 24.
Goalkeepers: Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns), 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), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns).
Midfielders: Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit), Allie Long (Reign), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage).
FORWARDS (7): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue), Jessica McDonald (NC Courage), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Utah Royals), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit), Megan Rapinoe (Reign).
Source: FOX Sport