USA-Canada: Year of experimentation ends in San Jose on Sunday

One of the busiest years ever for the U.S. women's national team in an off year -- no World Cup or no Olympics -- ends on Sunday when it faces Canada in San Jose.

The USA enters the game with an 11-3-1 record in 2017. The three losses came to teams ranked third, fourth and sixth in the world, while the tie was against Canada on Thursday night in Vancouver.

Trying new things. Both the USA and Canada have been experimenting this year. U.S. coach Jill Ellis has been trying out new players and players at new positions all year. Canada started three U.S. collegians on Thursday and brought 16-year-old Jordyn Huitema off the bench at the end of the game.

“Both teams have a pretty young team and the goal for everyone is 2019, to learn and try new things and learn from our mistakes,” said Julie Ertz, who won a starting spot in 2015 at center back but has been playing in central midfield since August. “That’s our biggest thing right now, going out there and finding what works for us.”

On a roll. Alex Morgan scored the lone goal against Canada at BC Place. It was the 79th of her international career and a team-high sixth in 2017. She did not score until the Aug. 3 game against Japan but now has six goals in her last six games.  She scored nine goals in her last 12 games for the Orlando Pride and finished tied for fifth in the NWSL with U.S. teammate Lynn Williams.

Back in the Bay. Seven of the U.S. players attended Bay Area universities: Kelley O'Hara, Christen Press, Jane Campbell and Chioma Ubogagu (Stanford),  Sofia Huerta and Ertz (Santa Clara) and Morgan (California). In addition, Andi Sullivan plays for No. 1 ranked Stanford -- she sat out the Cardinal's 9-1 win over Utah Valley on Saturday -- and Abby Dahlkemper grew up in Menlo Park.

U.S. Roster:
GOALKEEPERS: 18-Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 2/0), 21-Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns; 0/0), 24-Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 14/0), 1-Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 22/0)
DEFENDERS (8): 7- Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 12/0), 11-Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars; 3/0), 5-Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC; 103/2), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City; 134/0), 2-Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 18/0), 22-Taylor Smith (NC Courage; 6/0), 14-Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns; 12/0), 19-Chioma Ubogagu (Orlando Pride; 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 8-Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 56/13), 9-Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns; 42/4), 10-Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash; 245/97); 20-Allie Long (Portland Thorns; 33/6), 3-Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 33/7), 6- Andi Sullivan (Stanford Univ.; 6/0)
FORWARDS (4): 13-Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 133/79); 23-Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars; 95/44), 15-Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign; 128/34), 12-Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 14/4)
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