Commentary

Injuries will test USWNT's depth (well, maybe)

The provisional rosters have been released for the Concacaf W Championship, the new eight-team women's tournament that will kick off on July 4 in Monterrey, Mexico, and serve as qualifying for both the 2023 Women's World Cup and women's soccer at the 2024 Olympics.

The only importance to the roster lists is that the final 23-player rosters to be confirmed no later than 10 days before the start of group play must come from the provisional lists.

The USA's list (below) is long: 59 players.

It runs the gamut from veterans like Megan Rapinoe, who hopes to play in the World Cup next year in New Zealand and Australia but whose playing time in the 2022 NWSL regular season has been limited 109 minutes off the bench, and Sydney Leroux, who has played all of 30 minutes (back in 2017) for the USA since playing on the 2015 Women's World Cup championship team, to a trio of U-20 players, Michelle Cooper, Emily Mason and Alyssa Thompson.

The presence of players like two-time world champions Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, Christen Press and Rapinoe, who all won bronze-medals at the Tokyo Olympics but have not played for the USA in 2022 suggest the changing of the guard might not yet be complete. Morgan and Press will likely push their way on the squad bound for Monterrey thanks to strong starts to the NWSL season with their new clubs.

But who is not on the list says almost as much about the worrying state of women's soccer.

Tierna Davidson and Catarina Macario, expected to lead the U.S. backline and frontline for years to come, are both out after tearing their ACLs. Like Davidson, Lynn Williams will miss the entire NWSL season with a leg injury that, in part, dates back to her college days.

On top of that Sam Mewis hasn't played since the start of the NWSL regular season and is out indefinitely with a knee injury, and Abby Dahlkemper is out with fractured ribs.

Dahlkemper, Davidson, Macario and Williams are among seven players from the USA's initial 2022 SheBelieves Cup roster -- almost a third of the squad -- who aren't on the provisional roster due to injuries or who are on the list but are listed as "out" due to injuries on the NWSL's most recent availability report released on Tuesday.

That list includes Kelley O’Hara (hamstring) and Andi Sullivan (quad), who would be expected to be penciled in as starters at the W Championship but missed the Washington Spirit's game against Chicago on Wednesday night.

All this suggests that we might get a good look at just how deep the pool of young American talent is in the NWSL.

Will the USA's place in next year's World Cup be threatened?

Not when the four W Championship semifinalists -- half the field -- will qualify for the World Cup and the third-placed teams from each group will remain alive, advancing to the 10-team intercontinental playoffs. And not when the USA is a perfect 41-0-0 against five of the other seven teams (Costa Rica, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago).

More interesting will be to see who goes to the 2024 Olympics. Only the W Championship winner qualifies directly. (The second- and third-place teams will later meet in a playoff to determine Concacaf's second representative.)

The USA has been dominant though not invincible against Canada (51-4-7 all-time W-L-T record) and Mexico (39-1-1).

7 Goalkeepers (caps):
**Alyssa Naeher, 46; *Adrianna Franch, 10; Jane Campbell, 7; Casey Murphy, 3; Aubrey Kingsbury, 1; Bella Bixby, 0; Phallon Tullis-Joyce, 0.

18 Defenders (caps):

**Becky Sauerbrunn, 202; **Kelley O'Hara, 152; *Emily Sonnett, 65; Emily Fox, 13; Sofia Huerta, 12; Alana Cook, 9; Hailie Mace, 3; Imani Dorsey, 1; Naomi Girma, 1; Merritt Mathias, 1; Caprice Dydasco, 0; Sam Hiatt, 0; Alex Loera, 0; Emily Mason, 0; Kristen McNabb, 0; Emily Menges, 0; Carson Pickett, 0; Sam Staab, 0.

17 Midfielders (caps):

*Lindsey Horan, 109; *Rose Lavelle, 71; Kristie Mewis, 38; Andi Sullivan, 27; Ashley Sanchez, 7; Savannah McCaskill, 6; Jaelin Howell, 5; Kristen Hamilton, 1; Croix Bethune, 0; Sam Coffey, 0; Mikayla Cluff, 0; Savannah DeMelo, 0; Vanessa DiBernardo, 0; Taylor Kornieck, 0; Emily Madril, 0; Jenna Nighswonger, 0; Dani Weatherholt, 0.

17 Forwards (caps):
**Alex Morgan, 190; **Megan Rapinoe, 187; **Tobin Heath, 181; **Christen Press, 155; *Sydney Leroux, 77; *Mallory Pugh, 72; *Jessica McDonald, 19 ; Sophia Smith, 15; Margaret Purce, 14; Ashley Hatch, 8; Trinity Rodman, 3; Morgan Weaver, 2; Bethany Balcer, 1; Michelle Cooper, 0; Cece Kizer, 0; Alyssa Thompson, 0; Ally Watt, 0.
*World Cup championships won.
Note: In bold are players who played in 2022.

1 comment about "Injuries will test USWNT's depth (well, maybe)".
  1. R2 Dad, June 8, 2022 at 11:57 p.m.

    The MNT hosts a January camp to give lower-profile players a run-out. I think the WNT should do this as well, to keep the player pool as deep as feasible. Looking forward to seeing what these newer names can show.

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