Portland Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath and Boston Breakers midfielder Rose Lavelle both make their U.S. women’s national team returns this month, as USWNT head coach Jill Ellis named her 22 player roster for the pair of upcoming friendlies against New Zealand on Thursday. The two matches are scheduled for the FIFA international break, with the first on Sept. 15 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. (9 p.m. ET) and the second on Sept. 19 at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio (7:30 p.m. ET).
All 10 National Women’s Soccer League clubs are once again represented on Ellis’ roster, with the Chicago Red Stars leading the way with five players on the roster.
Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris also makes her first roster after recovering from her quad injury, and new Red Stars midfielder Morgan Brian is also back after missing the last three national team events due to her injuries. And while forward Megan Rapinoe didn’t miss any international obligations, after returning to the field for the Seattle Reign FC recently following minor knee surgery, she also made this roster for the New Zealand friendlies.
Sky Blue FC’s Kelley O’Hara could reach her 100th appearance for the national team in September. She’s earned 99 caps since her USWNT debut in 2010, and could be the 36th player to reach the century mark.
In the national team official release, Ellis said, “We are looking forward to getting to Denver and having a couple of days together prepping for our first New Zealand match. With only six matches left in 2017, we want to take advantage of the time we have together and finish the year with solid performances. New Zealand, South Korea and Canada all present different challenges, and these games will round out one of the most competitive schedules the WNT program has played in a calendar year.”
So far in 2017, the USWNT is 7-3-0.
The two games in Colorado and Ohio also mean a few NWSL players will get to play in front of hometown crowds. Washington Spirit forward Mallory Pugh and Thorns FC midfielder Lindsey Horan will receive a warm welcome back in the Denver area at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Lavelle’s return to the Boston Breakers during Week 19 also ensured she’d make it back in time for the Sept. 19 game in Cincinnati.
Sofia Huerta of the Chicago Red Stars will once again train with the USWNT as she waits for the approval from FIFA to change her association from Mexico to the United States. Upon FIFA’s approval, she will immediately become eligible to play for the senior national team.
Notably, the Houston Dash’s Carli Lloyd will miss these two friendlies due to her left ankle sprain.
Both games will be televised, with the first match on ESPN2 and the second on FS1.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 7/0), Tierna Davidson (Stanford; 0/0), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 51/9), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC; 99/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City; 129/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 13/0), Taylor Smith (NC Courage; 3/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 67/6), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 131/18), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 37/3), Rose Lavelle (Boston Breakers; 6/2), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC; 30/5), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 28/5), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 123/33)
FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC; 54/22), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 128/74), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars; 90/43), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 26/5), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 10/2)