USWNT: Sermanni names 24-player squad for tough Algarve Cup test

Tobin Heath

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Tom Sermanni has selected a veteran squad to feature at the Algarve Cup in Portugal next month.

Though he’s still far from deciding on a roster for the 2015 World Cup, Sermanni on Monday named a 24-player squad for the annual international competition featuring a number of regulars such as Abby Wambach, Christie Rampone, and Hope Solo. However, Alex Morgan will miss out on the competition as she is in the final stages of her recovery from an ankle injury.

“The group we’re in at the Algarve Cup will probably be the most significant test since I’ve come aboard and a different kind of challenge as we will be playing teams that have the belief and aim to come out to attack us and beat us,” Sermanni said in a statement. “The dynamics of these games will be different than some of the more recent matches, and that’s something that we want, that we need and that the players are looking forward to.”

After arriving in Portugal on Feb. 25, the USWNT will play in the tournament from March 5-12, with games scheduled against Japan (March 5), Sweden (March 7), and Denmark (March 10). From there, the U.S. will play its final match of the tournament on March 12, potentially playing for the title depending on how they do in their group.

Fifteen players in the squad were on last year’s Algarve Cup roster, which took home the title for a ninth time in a 2-0 victory against Germany. Making her return to the team is Tobin Heath, who has missed the last eight months of action with either injury or club commitment.

Heath is one of five players joining the USWNT from their clubs in Europe, including Sarah Hagan of Bayern Munich and the Tyresö trio of Christen Press, Whitney Engen, and Meghan Klingenberg.

While there are plenty of veterans on the Algarve Cup roster, Sermanni is giving three players a chance to earn their first caps, as well as recalling Virginia midfielder Morgan Brian. UCLA’s Samantha Killion and Samantha Mewis, Hagan, and reserve goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher are all in line to earn their first USWNT senior international cap.

In addition to Morgan, Lauren Holiday is missing the tournament due to a family commitment and Crystal Dunn was left off as she’s still far from match fitness following an ankle injury.

Here’s a look at the USWNT Algarve Cup roster:

USWNT ALGARVE CUP ROSTER

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jill Loyden (Sky Blue FC), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)

DEFENDERS (9): Stephanie Cox (Seattle Reign FC), Whitney Engen (Tyresö), Meghan Klingenberg (Tyresö), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kristie Mewis (Boston Breakers), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Rachel Van Hollebeke (Portland Thorns FC)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Virginia), Tobin Heath (Paris Saint-Germain), Sarah Killion (UCLA), Carli Lloyd (WNY Flash), Samantha Mewis (UCLA), Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)

FORWARDS (5): Sarah Hagen (Bayern Munich), Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Christen Press (Tyresö), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (WNY Flash)

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What do you think of this roster? Think the U.S. has a strong chance of defending their title?

Share your thoughts below.

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20 Responses to USWNT: Sermanni names 24-player squad for tough Algarve Cup test

  1. MT says:

    Where is Nicole Barnhart? Can you find out?

  2. archs says:

    tough? we will win all the games with a combined score of 13-4

  3. Alex H says:

    Lauren Holiday out for a family commitment? Is playing for the USWNT some sort of hobby now? It’s not like the Algarve Cup hasn’t been on the calender for a long time, so this better be something serious (and she has my prayers if it is).

    • Ezra says:

      It’s not like this is something new for her. She missed games last season to get married and go on a honeymoon. And it’s not like this is just something women do. Landon Donovan took time off just to “find himself” or something.

      • Alex H says:

        Well at least Jurgen was annoyed. He held Landon out for some pretty important qualifiers in response so his annoyance might even have been genuine.

    • Ron says:

      So a USWNT player only has the right to be away from the team for family events that are dire in nature? What planet are you from?

  4. user222 says:

    Sarah Killion??? no way, Johnston and Brooks are much better #6 which what the team’s still needs.

    • guest1 says:

      I think Sermanni is just selecting a different type of defensive or holding midfielder. Killion does not have the physicality of Brooks or Johnston, but is perhaps better at moving the ball and keeping the ball, and handling defensive pressure. She will need to improve her defensive abilities, but she has great potential. I think Killion brings the same type of skills/strengths that Morgan Brian has (minus the heading ability), which Sermanni seems to prefer at this point.

    • zsettko says:

      I’m totally agree with you I think it is something stupid call killion and leave out johnston or brooks, think tom a bit wrong I think that with the problem of the best midfielder of containment of the world the more ideal be johnston and brooks.

  5. Ezra says:

    Excited for Killion. She’s a great player. Her and Brian are the future of the USWNT midfield.

    Hopefully this time Mewis is actually named to one of the game day rosters, otherwise what’s the point in keeping her all this team?

  6. wosofan says:

    Someone had a good thought….. given Tom’s other comments in SBI’s other great article today, it seems clear he is still figure out his defense. He said two of the defenders he has played frequently are ‘utility’ players. For Algarve, he called in a lot of defenders and yet, he called in less midfielders AND called in two uncapped midfielders. I think this is a good point.

    In midfield and goal, he seems willing to give young players valuable game experience. But on defense, it seems like open tryouts are still underway.

  7. zsettko says:

    personally prefer to stephanie cox that mewis, cox is much more intelligent to play there is think fast and more technical I think that she should be the first to mewis so the shown on your return.??

    • Danny says:

      I agree about Cox. It stems from the fact that she’s a natural defender–I often feel like there’s this perception that anyone can drop back and become a defender, which isn’t really true. There are certainly players capable of making the decision but it’s not like any outside mid can automatically play full back and any center mid can play center back.

  8. zsettko says:

    I am somewhat dissatisfied with tom since he has not given opportunities to johnston, she is very good and world class to play football and always leave it out the lists and parties, she can do a similar work of the best driving worldwide shannon boxx containment.

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