The Lowdown: XI NWSL players who need USWNT calls

Dan Lauletta October 5, 2016 138
After three solid years i the Red Stars midfield, it's time for Vanessa DiBernardo to get a fari shake at the USWNT (Photo Courtesy Chicago Red Stars)

After three solid years in the Red Stars midfield, it’s time for Vanessa DiBernardo to get a fari shake at the USWNT (Photo Courtesy Chicago Red Stars)

This column was going to wait, but in light of Jill Ellis’s recent comments to Graham Hays, it seemed like a good idea to fast-track things. We already know that Whitney Engen has been told her services are no longer needed by the national team and reading Hays’ article, other contracted players may have been told the same. Below are XI current NWSL players that warrant call-ups sooner than later. Before I start though, a few notes:

— This is an NWSL column so this is an NWSL list. I am well aware of Rose Lavelle, Ashley Sanchez, Jane Campbell, and others, all of whom will likely be in sooner than later, but this space is for current NWSL players.

— I intentionally stopped the list at 11. That does not mean there are only 11 who deserve a look, and it certainly does not mean that a player not mentioned here does not deserve one. Three months ago I never though I would do this column without including Megan Oyster, but she seems to have lost her way in Washington since the Olympic break. Abby Dahlkemper has a bright future at center back, but I found others I’d rather see go first. Shea Groom nearly made it, but I believe she needs some refining in her game before making the jump. All three, and others, would be excellent additions to a camp in the near future.

— Feel free to tweet me your gripes @thedanlauletta but as always please keep them civil and respectful.

Danielle Colaprico, Chicago Red Stars

Two seasons into her professional career, Colaprico is firmly in the conversation about the best defensive midfielder in the United States. She has controlled many a match for the Red Stars with her ability to win balls clean off opposing attackers thanks to her incredible lower-body strength. Once she gets the ball, Colaprico makes correct and accurate passes more often than most, and she will spring the offense with something spectacular more than just occasionally.

The Red Stars’ diamond midfield is not likely to ever be employed by the national team, but there is nothing in her game that suggests anything but being ready for the next level. Colaprico did not have her best game against the Spirit in last week’s semifinal with Jill Ellis watching from the stands, so hopefully the U.S. coach already has a positive book on the 2015 NWSL Rookie of the Year.

Lynn Williams, Western New York Flash

Had Williams done nothing in this year’s playoffs, 2016 still would have been a memorable season for her emergence as an elite goal-scorer in NWSL. But she validated her 11-goal season by scoring an extra-time brace against the Thorns and will now ply her trade in Sunday’s NWSL Championship. The two goals showed off her versatility, one calmly rolled in for placement, the other a one-time blast off a fabulous Samantha Mewis pass.

As a rookie Williams was mostly known for her speed, but she showed an ability this season to use her strength to fight her way through defenders to make her own space and quiet has 9 assists in two NWSL seasons. Nothing not to like here.

[LAULETTA: How the rebuilt Flash arrived ahead of schedule]

Kealia Ohai, Houston Dash

Ohai is an interesting case. Two years ago, I thought she was on the fast-track to the national team, but 2015 was a step backward. So too was 2016, at least through July 9. That was the date of the Dash’s sixth straight loss, all by 1-0. Ohai spoke out that night about the team’s need to win its next game. And then she scored 11 goals over the final 10 games of the season.

Not many players have ever had that sort of run on the professional level, and Ohai deserves every chance to take it to the international level. She is also a tenacious defender when she tracks back on the flanks, a trait the national team covets. The inconsistency is a factor and the broader question for Ohai will be how she levels off since the end of her phenomenal run is inevitable.

Kealia Ohai scored 11 goals in her final 10 games of the season for the Houston Dash. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Kealia Ohai scored 11 goals in her final 10 games of the season for the Houston Dash. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Emily Menges, Portland Thorns FC

Was there a better center back in NWSL this year than Menges? Originally the Thorns’ right back, she shifted central after Kat Williamson hurt her knee — and Menges never looked back. All Menges did was anchor a defense that allowed fewer goals than games played, and fewer goals than any other team in NWSL. While the rest of the Thorns’ back line saw players shuttling in and out, Menges was the constant and she played with remarkable composure to help the club win the NWSL Shield for the first time.

Casey Short, Chicago Red Stars

As recently chronicled by Jennifer Gordon, it took Short three seasons to reach NWSL after being a 1st round pick in 2013. Now that she has arrived, a call-up to the national team should be imminent. An outside back with attacking instincts, Short is also defensively responsible and one of the most difficult fullbacks to beat one-on-one down the flank.

[GORDON: Casey Short’s unusual journey to the NWSL]

Casey Short was great for the Chicago Red Stars. (Photo Copyright Clark Linehan for The Equalizer)

Casey Short was great for the Chicago Red Stars. (Photo Copyright Clark Linehan for The Equalizer)

Arin Gilliland, Chicago Red Stars

The right-sided foil to Short, Gilliland is probably a bit better than her Red Stars teammate at getting into the attack but maybe a touch behind in terms of individual defending. For as much time as Gilliland spends in advanced positions, she very rarely leaves her flank exposed and more impressively she and Short have developed a solid chemistry in regards to who goes forward when.

Haley Kopmeyer, Seattle Reign FC

Hope Solo’s backup has been so good, the Reign have hardly missed a beat in the last two years when Solo has missed time for various reasons. Solo even referenced Kopmeyer’s ability when announcing she was taking the rest of 2016 off following her suspension from the national team. Kopmeyer controls her box well, has good hands, and has impressive shot-stopping abilities. She should be soon be a starter at the league level and is certainly good enough to warrant a look from Ellis.

Michelle Betos, Portland Thorns FC

This one will draw some rolled eyes, but hear me out: Over the last five seasons, Betos has lifted herself from WPSL Elite keeper to NWSL backup to NWSL starter. This season, the Thorns brought in Adrianna Franch but Betos won out and Franch never saw the net after the Olympic break. Now, do I think Betos is an international level keeper? No, I don’t. So why call her in?

It might not always look pretty, but Betos has answered every challenge thrown at her over the years. Who is to say she won’t handle the next one? For a player like Betos, I’d rather see for myself that she won’t make the jump than just assume it. That’s why I would call her in and take a look.

Erica Skroski, Sky Blue FC

Her switch to right back probably cost Skroski my Rookie of the Year vote. While she managed the new position well, her half-season playing center back next to Christie Rampone showed a young defender with a calming presence and a nose for the ball. Rutgers insiders say Skroski was the key cog in the stingy defense that helped Rutgers to its first College Cup in 2015. She is neither the quickest nor the most physically imposing player, but all she does is get the job done.

Vanessa DiBernardo, Chicago Red Stars

DiBerardo has been in Chicago for three seasons, had her role tweaked every time, and has pretty much continued to get better to the point where she was (or should be) Best XI quality in 2016. DiBernardo can unlock a defense with her dribbling and vision and she is not averse to pressing on defense either. Her variety of roles as a Red Star should only bolster her case to get a look from the U.S.

Kassey Kallman, Boston Breakers

It is easy to forget about Kallman considering how utterly bad the Breakers have been during her two seasons in Beantown. But remember that as a rookie Kallman slotted into the left back slot for FC Kansas City soon after the start of the season and never relinquished the role, helping the club to the NWSL Championship. Her 2016 season, as a center back, was not the strongest, but the Breakers had all sorts of issues in midfield and building up an attack, so it stands to reason that Kallman’s form would move up with the quality of her team. Kallman’s career arc could still trend either way, but she is one I would want to see perform around better players. Why not now?

  • Guest

    Jess McDonald (WNY) deserves honorable memtion. Her long throws are a weapon that changes set pieces, and her speed and ability to score and assist make her a dangerous addition to any team.

  • Gofigure

    Why does it matter? Ellis will just play them out of position and her coaching sucks.

    • Don’t hate me

      You are totally right, and then she wonders why they lose, but you never know maybe since she is bringing in so many new people and leaving people off the roster maybe she will start playing people in their right position

  • FawcettFan

    Colaprico: yes
    Williams: yes
    Ohai: yes
    Menges: yes
    Short: yes
    Gilliland: not sure (I thought she regressed slightly this year; I don’t see any improvement in her ballhandling skills, needs more refinement)
    Kopmeyer: pass (solid NWSL keeper but I doubt she’s quick enough to make NT)
    Betos: maybe (as Dan said, she is unorthodox but comes up with saves; reminds me a bit of Harris in that some of her spectacular saves are necessitated by poor fundamentals/positioning, and her kicking game needs work, but why not give her a look)
    Skroski: sure (likely needs another season to mature, but impressive so far)
    DiBernardo: yes
    Kallmann: maybe (she’s a durable defender trying to do the best she can in a woeful Breakers team)

    I’d add Nairn, Laddish, Barnes (DotY) and Groom. McDonald deserves it too, shame she is already 28.

    • guest

      Franch is arguably as good of a shot stopper as Betos right now and has way more upside if she can get more minutes. 25 years old, already has big-match experience (2013 finals), U-20 and U-23 caps, and camp callups from Sundhage, Sermanni, and Ellis. Franch also can’t be any worse than Betos at backline management or ball distribution.
      But as long as Portland is selling Bae-tos shirts off that header goal, Franch won’t reliably start.

      • Andy

        Except you know that part where Franch started the season and only afterwards lost her starting spot to the aforementioned Betos….

        • Steglitz49

          I don’t think she healed as well in Avaldsnes as Casey did. Casey playe >2x as many matches as Adrianna and also made the 1st XI of Toppserien.

      • Arcie Tillydee

        I sincerely doubt Parsons is influenced by merchandise sales (or that the FO forces his hand in such matters…the team is quite profitable already, and you don’t actually see that many Betos shirts). His biggest influence on the starting ‘keeper decision is almost certainly the goalkeeper coach (Nadine Angerer).

    • Arcie Tillydee

      I once would have bristled at the notion of including Shea Groom, as her previous absurdly rough play and seeming disregard for the safety of opponents would have earned her countless yellows and reds outside the very permissive environment of North American soccer. She has, however, cleaned up her act. Whether via a change in her outlook to via a quiet word from above that she was under scrutiny doesn’t matter, really. But she only occasionally clatters into grounded ‘keepers these days, and I want to give credit where due. Never a thing wrong with her game, outside her old “hockey enforcer” persona.

    • kernel_thai

      Colaprico…I was surprised she didnt get capped last year. Call, yes, stick not yet
      Williams…Hasnt shown a lot of range and really benefits from Flash transition. Doesnt really fit current NT system. Call, yes, stick no
      Ohai…not sure she passes well enough or handles speed of play. Could stick in a specific role like late match game changer. Call yes, stick no.
      Menges…needs more game experience but after losing Rampone & Engen a tall, fast CB seem tailor made. Call, yes, stick, yes
      Short…if she meets Ellis standards on the offensive end she can be a big upgrade on the left. Call, yes Stick, maybe.
      Gilliland…hard for me to see both Red Star OB making it. Call, yes Stick, no.
      Skroski…not an NT OB and cant seeing her getting a look at CB when she didnt play there. Call no
      DiBernardo…they r loaded at CAM to the point they have to take turns at other CM spots. Call no
      Killion…Seems the perfect fit for what Ellis want and cant figure why she hasnt been called, Call, no
      Kallman…hard to believe Engen gets cut to call Kallman. Call, no.

      • mockmook

        Menges tall? Height: 5′ 7″

        Maybe, tallish. (Give me Naughton!!! 5 ft 10 in)

        Better yet, pair Menges and Naughton.

        ——-

        Speaking of CBs, it is ridiculous to use Skroski’s versatility against her — let her audition for CB.

        Speaking of OBs, it is ridiculous to use the performance of Short against Gilliland. Audition them both.

        • kernel_thai

          If they thought she was good enough at CB at Rutgers they should have brought her in last year…as they didnt I dont no how a season playing OB helps her and she isnt an offensive enough OB to catch Ellis eye. Maybe Rampone retires in 5 or 6 years and she can move inside.

      • mockmook

        “DiBernardo…they r loaded at CAM to the point they have to take turns at other CM spots. Call no”

        They may be loaded at CAM, but no one has shown that they are a proficient CAM.

        • kernel_thai

          Unless ur moving Lloyd out or turning DiBernardo into yet another quasi #6…

          • DNG

            Move Lloyd out.

          • kernel_thai

            From the ESPNw piece it looks like Lloyd is in for the cycle.

          • DNG

            It’s not her decision whether or not she is selected. Ellis needs to do the right thing and move on. I’m tired of seeing the team get overrun in midfield because Lloyd is incapable of providing any build up support or solid linking play against any decent team. They need a player who can do more than crash the net for poachers goals.

          • kernel_thai

            My only hope in this regard died with Christen Press. If Press has seized the opportunity this summer and scored a bunch of goals from the 10 spot, Lloyd would have been eased into obscurity. Alas

          • Steglitz49

            Press has not seized any opportunities since 2013 and some would say 2012. Why should that change all of a sudden?

          • Steglitz49

            Once the new POTY has been declared, it is an option.

        • DNG

          I haven’t seen too many players get an actual audition at the 10 over the last year and Ellis didn’t play with one for her first year in charged.

  • Steglitz49

    Chelsea Ladies lost 0-3 at home to Wolfsburg in the first leg of their Champions League encounter.

    Chelsea staged the match at their main stadium, Stamford Bridge, in Chelsea but sadly only 3,783 turned out at Stamford Bridge to watch them play last year’s losing finalists. Given how many millions live in London, this is disappointing.

    Most though not all the favored teams won this first leg.

    • Steg Watch

      Irrelevant comment #3,231.

      • Steglitz49

        Please register yourself so we can follow your comments.

        Stamford Bridge seats 40,000. It is in the centre of London. Chelsea, who not that long ago was closing down its ladies team, used their main stadium for this match. Though 3,783 is a fine number for WoSo in England, the failure of the public to get behind and support Chelsea’s Ladies, suggests that closing them down may not have been so far off the mark.

    • MurderOnZidanesFloor

      I was at the game and Wolfsburg were pure class. They were strong when I watched them last season but look even better this year. Chelsea on the other hand seem to have taken a step backwards, even after upgrading their squad.

      • Steglitz49

        Why do English teams do so badly in the Champions League?

        Why can’t more people be bothered to go and watch. I know Stamford Bridge is not conventiently near a Tube station — Fulham Broadway may be the nearest, I can’t remeber — but it is not as if it in Timbuktu.

        • MurderOnZidanesFloor

          They don’t have the quality of the German and French sides. And because of how the seeding works the English sides aren’t seeded and end up going out early. Manchester City should be alright tonight, although it won’t be easy for them right after playing 120 mins at the weekend in the Conti Cup final. How far they can get will probably depend how long they can avoid the big sides.

          Fulham Broadway is the closest, its not right next door but it’s an easily walkable distance.

          • Steglitz49

            Let’s trust that City can do the needful.

          • MurderOnZidanesFloor

            1-0 up at half time and completely dominant. Jill Scott with the goal, all made by Lucy Bronze though. Zvesda have set up to try and keep the scoreline as low as possible, I’d imagine they fancy their chances in the home leg in Russia more than here.

  • Guest

    Shea Groom, Sarah Killion, Mandy Laddish, Christine Nairn

  • Guest

    I’m excited for players like Ohai and Colaprico to put on the USWNT kit so that all the commenters here at EQ who sing their praises now can turn on them with the vitriol they’ve spewed at all the current players.

    • AlexH

      So long as they earn their praise or vitriol on the field rather than on paper all is good.

    • JL

      If Colaprico was looking to solidify her NT case in the semifinal, then she failed. Below average game from her.

      • Anon

        consistency is not her middle name

        • JL

          She plays a position where consistency is kind of important. It’s important in every position, of course, but you want it the most in the defensive areas.

      • Bruce

        Hard to put that on her when her flank midfielders did nothing to win the possession battle. The entire first half was played on the right side of the field. Did you hear Comeau’s name mentioned even once?

  • Gary Diver

    “Coach Jill Ellis Is Ready to Reboot the U.S. Women’s Soccer Roster”

    http://www.espn.com/espnw/sports/article/17694256/coach-jill-ellis-ready-reboot-us-women-soccer-roster

    A very interesting, thoughtful, and relevant article by Graham Hays.

    “Following Heather O’Reilly’s international retirement and Hope Solo’s suspension, co-captain Carli Lloyd is the only player on the roster with 200 career appearances. In a perfect world, Ellis contends, progress would be that no one joins her. Not even the most wondrous of current wunderkinds, 18-year-old Mallory Pugh. ‘If she reaches 200 caps, I don’t think we’re doing our job,’ Ellis said, using Pugh as the most extreme example of a larger point. ‘When I used to recruit in college, my sole job was to out-recruit what I had. And if I did that, I knew we would grow and be successful.'”

    “‘There’s already some that I have a clear vision of not seeing them as part of our 2019,’ Ellis said. ‘For some, it’s a message of I want and need to look at other players. But to all of them, even the ones who sit out a camp, the paradigm has shifted. It’s not you play because of experience. It’s now you play because you’ve got to be good enough. The only way we find that out is to have a look at them in our environment. Now is the time.'”

    Ellis’ public utterances about how she would make her OG16 roster decision about Megan Rapinoe raised more questions about Ellis’ judgment and honesty than they answered. It is now time for Ellis to put up or shut up.

    • AlexH

      I might also add that Ellis’s decision to put Rapinoe on the roster totally goes against her letter about how form and competition will determine roster spots.

      I also had to laugh a bit when she said how she included Kling and KO so they could break down the bunkers considering that the US failed to do so yet gave up goals on counters.

      • Evevic

        Yep she’s lost…

        • kernel_thai

          She cant give u three paragraphs without either contradicting herself or at least something she said yesterday.

    • Gary Diver

      “Jill has told me that if I am not performing, I will take a seat on the bench.” – Carli Lloyd

      • lol yea right. Must be a new policy.

      • kernel_thai

        Ellis apparently doesnt even have the authority to sub Lloyd out in a friendly…how the hell would she bench her?

        I like Hays but this was a very fluffy piece. If someone tells u in the same interview 1) the coaches arent doing their jobs if the same player keeps hanging around and 2) she sees Lloyd with a key role in the attack in 2019, how do u not call her on that? He also needed to take exception to Ellis’ claim that this brave new team is what she told Gulati before she was hired. Well this was exactly what Sermanni was trying to do and what got him fired. Doesnt that seem a little odd?

        • HOFCToDi

          Boxx and Wambach had not won a FIFA Women’s World Cup.

          Calendar Year 2013
          USWNTPA
          Rampone – President
          Wambach – Vice President
          Boxx – Treasurer

          Rampone – “I’ve got kids to feed!”.

        • Gary Diver

          It is funny nobody has speculated what USWNT would look like today if Tom Sermanni was still the coach. I think it would be much different and much better than the current USWNT team.

    • guest

      ellis’s letter can’t be good news for hope solo.

      • guest

        and hopefully megan rapinoe.

        • Gary Diver

          Most of us could make a list of at least 5 USWNT players we would like to see sent to pasture: Krieger and Klingenberg to start with. Let’s hope Ellis isn’t just blowing hot air. The Swiss matches need to be the time to start looking at new blood.

          • guest

            we obviously don’t know everything that goes on behind closed doors with the uswnt. but the last three sentences of the ellis letter were pretty interesting. almost a little out of place. kind of implying that those things have occurred in the past and is a warning for the future.

          • Gary Diver

            Agree: both odd and out of place.

          • kernel_thai

            I dont see the value of having the current myopic coach look at new blood. A DM would be nice but she doesnt like CMs who defend. It would be great to upgrade at OB but guess what…she doesnt like OBs who defend either. She can look at Williams all she wants but she isnt a center forward.nor is she the type of wide forward Ellis favors. Ohai is the type of wide forward she likes but not sure she handles the ball nearly well enough. That pretty much means fill the roster at CB hole with Menges or Dahlkemper and move on.

          • mockmook

            “She can look at Williams all she wants but she isn’t a center forward.”

            For much of the season, Williams was the CF paired with McDonald in a 4-4-2

          • kernel_thai

            Exactly my point. if the US were playing a two front Williams would be a much better fit. As it is they play a one front doesnt suit Williams (or Morgan for that matter). In the two wide attacking spots Ellis favors wide midfielder like Rapinoe, Heath, Pugh who give her width and ball handling. Now maybe Williams can fit either or both or those roles but what she showed this year is she is very good in a two front.

          • mockmook

            Well she played a lot in the 4-4-2, but they also used the 4-3-3 a lot, and Williams was wide in that formation.

      • Gary Diver

        You are probably right, but for some of us there is still Hope. The way Ellis was involved in the Hope suspension/firing seemed to me to indicate her was off Hope for some personal reasons.

  • Anon

    This team is going to be half Red Stars if this pans out. They’ll be the new Thorns. Good news for Christen Press? The chemistry will already be there.

    • FawcettFan14

      CRS has a very good 3/4 starting lineup: Naeher, Gilliland, Johnston, Short, Colaprico, DiBernardo, Huerta, Press. Unfortunately the rest of the starters are weak links and bench depth is nearly nonexistent.

      To go farther, CRS need to upgrade their depth.

      • Bruce

        Just the flanks. Just the flanks.

      • Steglitz49

        Short and DiBernardo worth giving a tryout. Huerta needs to mug up on her spoken Spanish.

  • Breakers fan

    Been saying it for a long time: Kristie Mewis should get another camp look. She’s one of the more technically adept players. Has a strong shot, is left-footed. Just a very good, smart, all-around player. Jill shouldn’t feel as if she isn’t allowed to bring her back because she has been there before or because she was on an unsuccessful team.

    Agree with some other picks not mentioned in the article: Nairn, Groom, McDonald, Barnes.

    • EQ2

      No need. Her little sister is better.

      • Breakers fan

        Disagree but thanks for voicing your opinion. Not comparing them; they’re 2 people. I think they’re both worthy.

        • DNG

          I don’t really like either player but I wouldn’t be against giving them a shot. Their decision making at times gives me pause. I like Colaprico better than both and would like to see Andi Sullivan and Rose Lavelle get a called up.

          • Andy

            Did people not see the semi-final? A bunch of star studded midfielders all on the same field and Sam Mewis bossed them all. These others mentioned are good and could use a look. But Mewis has clearly improved since her first look on NT.

          • Don’t hate me

            I don’t think Mewis has any worries about getting a call back, I think she will be on the team for awhile, and if she is not then Jill has problems because she proved in that game that she has what it takes to be on the NT

          • DNG

            WNY’s midfield did not boss that game by dominating the ball. They stretched Portland by scoring first and playing fast the entire match in a press heavy countering scheme. I think 3 of their 4 goals also came from set pieces and the Mewis one came from a terrible throw in by Klingenberg that led to a counter. WNY created some great chances from the run of play but I don’t think their midfield was that dominant at all. Their plan was to get the ball to their forwards as fast as possible and attack as fast as possible.

          • Steglitz49

            Sinclair goal came from off a foul.

          • DNG

            That may be true but has nothing to do with my comment at all. The number of uncalled fouls I saw from both teams was ridiculous. This CR had no business being anywhere near a playoff game

          • Steglitz49

            You get these odd refereeing from time to time. By all accounts the ref was unbiased in laxity.

            One of the problems for WoSo is that the quality of the refereeing must be improved. It seemed that after =G-12 we had turned a corner but WC-15 and OG-16 dragged us back to zero if not below the baseline.

          • DNG

            I never assume that an official is biased. The missed penalty count favors WNY over Portland even if you penalize Horan for the foul before WNY’s second. Refereeing has always been poor in WoSo.

          • Steglitz49

            Some teams make an art of harassing the officials while others accept the decisions without questioning them. The poison of winning at all costs has been seeping into WoSo over the past 5-6 years. Soon might as well just watch BroSo.

          • Riveter

            Portland, flop city!
            Portland, flop city!
            Whoaaaaaa-oh-oh!

          • Arcie Tillydee

            Precisely. The “bias” was just a random falling-out of the terrible blown calls…happened to favor WNY to the point of deciding the outcome (IMO), but that’s random chance.

          • I agree Sam Mewis has improved, it’s Kristie Mewis that I don’t see on the USWNT.

  • smallchief

    If the Chicago Red Stars have 4 players who deserve a shot at the NT — plus three, Press, Naeher, and Johnston, who are already there — then Chicago is underperforming as a team.

    Surely, somebody on the Washington Spirit should be worthy of a call-up. Washington beat Chicago, after all. And yet none of its players are among the elite to be called up? (Except of course, NT members Krieger and Dunn.)

    To be clear, I think Nairn of Washington would be a better choice to be called up than any of the Chicago players named . Short would be my first choice to call up among the Chicago players.

    Others worthy: Groom, Dahlkemper, and McDonald. (I don’t know much about Dahlkemper, but she impressed me in the match against Portland. McDonald has earned a callup — but I suppose she’s too old. Still…..)

    • JL

      The one thing about Dahlkemper that bugged me to no end last season was you could count on her making at least one completely boneheaded mistake every single game. I’m not saying players need to be perfect all the time, because that’s not realistic. But she was making mistakes that were totally inexcusable, even for a rookie.

      She’s cut down on that a lot this year, though. Part of it is being in the same position all year vs. being moved around depending on who was available that game. And the offseason playing in Australia had to have helped.

    • Happy

      Nairn. Has the patience and possession skills to help break down a parked defense, and a cannon she can fire when that defense provides only tight windows from the outside. Just turned 26.

      Not sure she quite fits Ellis’ shape, but if Sweden wrote the script on how to beat the US, then Nairn provides a key to unlocking those defenses.

      • JL

        One of the things she was well regarded for was her skill on set pieces. The Spirit commentators even refer to a free kick within 30 yards as Nairn Territory. But her set pieces have been poor for most of the season.

        • Happy

          There’s truth to this, though I recall her as pretty successful last year. Not helped by her teammates – Dunn, Matheson, and Banini all short and Stengel (a favorite) is inconsistent in the air. Not sure the Spirit had the same players up front the same way twice all season. I think Heath is going to be the first option anyway, and Nairn is not a bad backup. Opportunity for her to improve, though.

    • HOFCToDi

      Christine Nairn (Washington Spirit) was called up last year during the October Victory Tour.

      ussoccer.com/stories/2015/10/16/11/52/151016-wnt-vs-brazil-victory-tour-roster-anouncement

      • Gary Diver

        Did she play? Did Lauren Barnes, who was just named NWSL defensive player of the year, get a chance to play in a USWNT game?

        • HOFCToDi

          Bookmark USSoccer.com

          ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/lineups

          ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/lineups/2015-lineups

        • guest

          for what it is worth,
          – Christine Nairn does have 2 caps and a game winning goal (goal scored in 1-0 USA win over Canada July 22, 2009) with USWNT. Both caps date to call ups in spring/summer of 2009 while Nairn was still undergrad at Penn State.
          – Nairn did receive USWNT call up last Oct (2015) during WC Victory tour but she did not make game day roster

          Ellis had publicly spoken about calling up Colaprico before the Oct call up but Colaprico was dealing with injury. Some public speculation that Nairn’s Oct call up was related to Colaprico not being healthy and in November 2015 Colaprico (but not Nairn) was called into USWNT camp (but no uswnt caps yet).

          • Steglitz49

            The USWNT has no need to call up injured players.

    • ABCDE

      considering they have what, zero internationals? it’s almost hard to compare them to other teams. i think they did pretty well.

    • Guest

      Lohman would warrant a callup if she was younger, Huster has been in with the NT and is in the same boat as Lohman, Matheson is an international, as are Ordega, Banini and Zadorsky……

      • mockmook

        Huster is young-ish

        • Steglitz49

          She is a redhead like Chalups.

    • Borgata

      I still think it makes no sense why Oyster got benched. Cheyna Williams should be considered purely on athletic ability, unfortunately she just got hurt.

      Nairn left everything on the field for that playoff game, but that intensity is not the norm. Nairn makes too many unforced errors and her set pieces have taken a step back this season. She is a great leader, but it’s probably pretty hard to establish any of that on this NT.

  • Ethan

    Killion? If we’re talking about players who need call ups now, I don’t understand why two goalkeepers are on this list with Harris and Naeher firmly in the USWNT picture. Now, DM, on the other hand, is a position on the USWNT that could be greatly strengthened, and calling up Killion along with Colaprico would make sense to me.

    • Steglitz49

      I am not persuaded that either Harris or naeher are “firmly in the USWNT picture”. They are too short for starters and not anywhere near as good as top keepers are these days.

      Whether the two keepers in the list are any better, I have not the foggiest.

    • MurderOnZidanesFloor

      Well if you are talking of calling up 10+ players they likely won’t all be establishing themselves as permanent members of the squad. Taking a look at a couple of keepers makes sense when there is definitely a space available.

      • Ethan

        Well, the US has two solid, natural goalkeepers. What they don’t have right now is a DM who has shown consistently good play. It wouldn’t make sense to just call up Colaprico while calling up more than one goalkeeper.

        • Steglitz49

          They had one outstanding goalie but she is cooling her heels in Puget Sound.

  • HOFCToDi

    11 players who deserve call-ups from Jill Ellis and the USWNT

    fourfourtwo.com/us/features/11-players-who-deserve-uswnt-call-ups-jill-ellis

    Kealia Ohai
    Vanessa DiBernardo
    Danielle Colaprico
    Rose Lavelle
    Sarah Killion
    Arin Gilliland
    Emily Menges
    Ashley Sanchez
    Abby Dahlkemper
    Christine Nairn

    A whole bunch of goalkeepers

    • Steglitz49

      Name us 3 goalies 5’11” or taller, please

  • newouth

    nothing against lynn williams but she needs another year of productivity to confirm this wasn’t a fluke year. i would bring in ohai and dibernardo for sure. you can pick the other names out of a hat.

    • smallchief

      Possibly — but then one could also say with equal justification that Ohai might have been a half-season fluke.

    • MurderOnZidanesFloor

      I don’t think it was a fluke from Williams but I doubt she’ll be a regular on the national team anytime soon. She’s very similar in play style to Morgan, so unless they are going to drop Morgan she’d only really be a backup.

      • Steglitz49

        Only Morgan will drop Morgan.

      • DNG

        She was better than Morgan this year in the NWSL. I think she’s faster and more athletic too. I think you can bring her in but I’d much prefer the US to get away from relying on these types of forwards. I’d also like to see if she can replicate her goal scoring record next year in the NWSL.

        • Steglitz49

          Italy 2010, Japan 2011, Canada 2012, Germany (and Sweden) 2013, 2015 key penalty obtained and 2016 equalizer — not bad all things considered. Most NTs would be more than pleased with such a player.

          • DNG

            There were about 8 forwards better than her in club play this year. Who’s to say they couldn’t have scored those goals for the NT if given the chance. It doesn’t do the team any good to select players based on accomplishments from over 4 years ago. She’s not playing any better than a bunch of forwards in the league in 2016

    • Andy

      The point of a call-up is for the NT coaches to decide if it was a fluke or not in person. No need to use a whole year to decide that.

  • GT

    Shea Groom, Sarah Killion, and Abby Dahlkemper instead of Gilliland, Skroski, and Dibernardo.

    • Don’t hate me

      I agree with you on Groom and Dahlkemper…

      • Steglitz49

        Groom will always be in a refs cross-wires and the yellow and red cards will slip out too easily

        • GT

          Maybe she can wear a disguise.

          • Steglitz49

            What do you suggest? Body paint?

          • GT

            A moustache.

  • GT

    With all the names being “bandied about” it is clear that the U.S. has enough talent (40-50 deep) to field two world class national teams, America East and America West. With approximately 330 million citizens why shouldn’t we have two teams. Many of the other countries in Europe and elsewhere only have 30, 40,50 million population or less. Why should American women soccer players be penalized for living in a big country?

    • guest

      How many should China have. This is a stupid suggestion.

      • Steglitz49

        Indeed. Or India? Or Indonesia?

      • MurderOnZidanesFloor

        And India. If they could field 10 teams they might be able to qualify for something!

      • GT

        Eye of the beholder.

      • GT

        One from Column A and one from Column B.

        • Steglitz49

          If Iceland, pop 300k gets one NT, then Denmark and Norway, pop 5m, get 17 teams each and Sweden, pop 9.7m get 30 teams and the US pop 315m gets 1000 teams, India gets 3000 and China 5000 teams.

          • GT

            I think we need to “normalize” and do a “10 year average amortization”.

          • Steglitz49

            One team per nation? as in: One team! One Nation!! One Leader!!!

          • GT

            I getting ready to take a knee.

          • Steglitz49

            The choice was war or dishonor. You seem inclined to chose dishonor. The red Army will still get you in their threshing machine. Rest assured.

          • GT

            I thought we were talking about corner kicks.

    • Steglitz49

      In sports like baseball, basket, grid-iron and icehockey, the north-American leagues are the apex and world championships sit a bit oddly, though to be fair in the Hockey WC just completed, Teams USA and North-America were sent packing early while the 4 semifinalists were Canada, Team Europe, Russia and Sweden.

      Soccer in contrast is the world’s sport. It belongs to the world. Obviously, it organized into continents and confederations and on the national level but every so often the players compete as their nations.

    • Richmont

      Let’s focus on having one world class national team and stop assuming that just cause 30-40 players are discussed they are all fantastic players
      I bet the folks in Germany, Sweden and France also would be able to discuss 30-40 players

      • GT

        You guys are no fun.

  • VaFan51

    I really am surprised Erika Tymrak is not getting more love in this round of list-making. She had an injury-plagued season, but every time I saw FCKC play she was active, technical, and very dangerous with the ball.

    • DNG

      How many of their matches did you watch? She was very inconsistent this year from the matches I watched. Skilled yes but often not dangerous. The only consistently dangerous FCKC attacker was Groom.

      • Steglitz49

        The Tymrakii are like the Pressoni .. monomanic.

        • newouth

          it’s Presseroni.

          • Steglitz49

            as in macaroni?

    • Don’t hate me

      How were her numbers this year? but sometimes the numbers doesn’t matter, I mean she was the rookie of the year in 2013. Didn’t she get called up last year during the Victory tour? She would be a great add to the team, I could see her and Tobin killing the midfield

  • Gary Diver

    “All Lynn Williams & Kealia Ohai Goals in NWSL 2016”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2F829to-c8

  • MurderOnZidanesFloor

    If anyone was interested in watching some Champions League games today there are a couple of streams available.

    Kicking off in 2 hours..
    LSK Kvinner (NOR) v Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) – http://www.womenssoccerunited.com/live-stream-lsk-psg-uwcl/

    Kicking off in 3 hours..
    Manchester City (ENG) v Zvezda 2005 (RUS) – https://www.facebook.com/mancitywomen – Stream isn’t up yet but should be available from Manchester City Women’s Facebook page when the game is about to start.

  • Arcie Tillydee

    Aaaand call-ups released, and no Emily Menges (probably the best CB in the NWSL this season). Absolutely ridiculous…

    • DNG

      I like Menges. I think she still has things she needs to work on though and it’s not like there were a ton of CBs called in. Sonnett, Sauerbrunn, and Dahlkemper are the only 3 CBs in this roster compared to 4 OBs. Maybe Ellis doesn’t see CB as an immediate need. I disagree but it is what it is.

      • Arcie Tillydee

        Oh, to be sure…always things to work on. But I think Menges is better than any of the defender “newbs” called in, and by a fair margin. Of course, I think she’s better than JJ, too…

        • DNG

          I’m with you on JJ who I don’t think is very good at all. I wouldn’t say there’s a huge margin between Menges, Sonnett and Dahlkemper and those two are really her competition. This is only the first camp with new faces though and I expect there to be more new faces in the next year. In the mean time Menges can continue working on her game. I think she should work on the touches and weak foot passing. Sonnett is probably quicker and more explosive than Menges even if Menges has a faster top speed. Sonnett also has the better ball skills. Mistakes in possession and marking are the only things keeping Sonnett from being a top CB right now and she will hopefully fix those things with experience.