Commerce City, Colorado (March 21, 2019) — Jill Ellis added a surprise selection to her 24-player roster for upcoming friendlies against Australia and Belgium.
Ellis added Ali Krieger, who was part of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup winning squad, to the U.S. Women’s National Team roster. Krieger has not been called up by Ellis since April 2017. However, with Kelley O’Hara battling a prolonged ankle injury, Krieger’s services are needed.
USWNT: Ali Krieger highlights 24-player roster for April friendlies
Krieger has more than 100 NWSL appearances and played every minute of the 2017 season. In 2018, she featured in 19 matches, starting all of her appearances. She recorded 60 clearances and 46 interceptions. She also tallied 16 blocks. While she didn’t score, Krieger did tally two assists.
In regard to bringing her back, Ellis said that Krieger expressed her excitement to “come into camp and help this team in any way she can.”
“Opportunities, however they transpire, are exactly that, and Ali has been a great pro and will no doubt lean on her experience and strengths when she comes back into this environment,” Ellis said. “Recently, she has been training with her club in the outside back position and with the potential to add depth on the right side, it was good timing to bring Ali into this camp to join the other six defenders.”
As for their opponents, the United States are facing off against Australia and Belgium. Both team’s are qualified for this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will be held in France.
“Right now, everything is about preparing for June,” Ellis said. “Australia is a top-6 team, and Belgium came within a goal of qualifying for the World Cup, so these opponents will provide us a level of competition that we’ll be experiencing in France. Our time together will be important to keep forging team chemistry and build on the connectivity on the pitch so we can bring out the best from each other in our team play.”
— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) March 21, 2019
Morgan hunting for 100; Long, Horan return
On Feb. 27, Alex Morgan scored her 99th international goal.
Since then, the United States has played England and Brazil. All three matches were part of the SheBelieves Cup. In both matches, Morgan couldn’t find her 100th goal. The hunt is still on, entering the Australia match. Morgan had her chances in the final two matches of the SheBelieves Cup, but the quest is still on.
Meanwhile, Morgan has received some of her midfield partners back.
Allie Long was part of the SheBelieves Cup training squad. However, she was not on the final tournament roster. Long has regained her place in the midfield, looking to gain minutes and impress Ellis.
Meanwhile, Lindsey Horan has returned from a quad injury. Horan was the NWSL MVP last season and has been a key piece in the midfield for the United States. She features, normally, alongside her Portland Thorns teammates, like Tobin Heath and Emily Sonnett.
The Full Roster
GOALKEEPERS: Adrianna Franch, Ashlyn Harris, Alyssa Naeher
DEFENDERS: Abby Dahlkemper, Tierna Davidson, Crystal Dunn, Ali Krieger, Becky Sauerbrunn, Casey Short and Emily Sonnett
MIDFIELDER: Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Allie Long, Samantha Mewis, Andi Sullivan and McCall Zerboni
FORWARD: Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Jessica McDonald, Alex Morgan, Christen Press, Mallory Pugh and Megan Rapinoe
You: *makes a questionable decision*
That one friend: ???
Literally everyone else: ? pic.twitter.com/xw4RghrNZC
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) March 20, 2019
On April 4, the United States will take on Australia. The two sides have met up before, with their most recent meeting on July 29, 2018, with the two sides drawing, 1-1. Australia will travel to Commerce City, Colorado, right outside of Denver, for a contest at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park.
The match will air on Fox Sports 1 at 9 p.m. ET.
“We’ve had some highly competitive games with them over the past few years and we love playing Australia as they push us to be better on both ends of the field,” Ellis said. “… They will also have new leadership, and that may or may not influence a change in personnel or style. What remains important is our preparedness for being able to read and manage any situations our opponents will present.”
Meanwhile, three days later, the United States will face Belgium for the first time at the Banc of California Stadium. That match will air at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN 2.
Ellis said for first-ever meeting that Belgium has made “remarkable” strides, along with other up and coming European teams, for the last four or five years.
“Belgium is a country with a rich soccer culture — I believe their men’s team is ranked No. 1 in the world — so I can only see the Belgian women’s team continuing to improve and we’re really excited about the opportunity to play them for the first time,” Ellis said.