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Friday Roundup: Tasha Kai returns to Sky Blue active roster

Also in today’s roundup, Japan’s Tournament of Nations squad announced and U.S. youth national teams face more competition overseas.

For the first time this season, Tasha Kai is available for Sky Blue FC for this weekend's match. (Robyn McNeil, ISI Photos)

For the first time this season, Tasha Kai is available for Sky Blue FC for this weekend’s match. (Robyn McNeil, ISI Photos)

Tasha Kai returns to Sky Blue’s active roster

Sky Blue FC announced today that forward Tasha Kai has been added to the team’s active roster ahead of this weekend’s match against the Chicago Red Stars. The Hawaii native has yet to make her 2017 debut after being placed on the 45-day disabled list before the season opener in order to recover from a pair of offseason ankle surgeries. Last season she played in all 20 matches for Sky Blue, starting 17 of them, scoring four goals and tallying one assist on the season.

Defender Erin Simon replaces Kai on the 45-day disabled list after fracturing her left foot in the Sky Blue’s July 1 match against the North Carolina Courage. Simon, who had her foot inadvertently stepped on by a Courage defender in just the 24th minute of that match, recently underwent a procedure to treat the injury and will miss a minimum of 45 days with the team. 

Rookie defender Mandy Freeman will also miss this weekend’s match against the Chicago Red Stars after spraining her ankle in last weekend’s home match against FC Kansas City. Like Simon, Freeman was stepped on about halfway through the first half, causing her to suffer the injury. No timeline for Freeman’s return was provided.

Rumi Utsugi named to Japan’s Tournament of Nations roster

Rumi Utsugi was one of 23 players named to Japan's Tournament of Nations roster. (photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

Japan head coach Asako Takakura has named her 23-player squad ahead of the Tournament of Nations. Among the players included on Takakura’s roster is Seattle Reign FC midfielder Rumi Utsugi, who recently returned to the Reign after missing a couple of matches after sustaining an injury during Japan’s previous camp.

The Tournament of Nations is a four-team, round-robin friendly tournament hosted by the USWNT and also includes Australia and Brazil. Japan first faces Brazil on July 27 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. From there they will travel to California, where they will take on Australia on July 30 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego before closing out the tournament against the USWNT on August 3 at StubHub Center in Carson. That match will be televised on ESPN2.

According to the team’s release, Utsugi will not report to camp with Japan until July 24, making her available for the Reign’s July 22 home match against Sky Blue FC.

Japan Tournament of Nations Roster by Position

Goalkeepers (3): Saito Ayaka (Begalta Sendai Ladies), Ikeda Akiko (Urawa Reds Ladies), Yamashita Annui (Nittele Beza)
Defenders (7): Samejima Aya (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Nakamura Kaede (Albirex Niigata Women), Sakamoto Ribo (AC Nagano Parseiro Women), Takagi Hikari (Nojimasutera Kanagawa Sagamihara), Oya Ayumu (Ehime FC Ladies), Kitagawa Hikaru (Urawa Reds Ladies), Ichise Nana (Begarta Sendai Ladies)
Midfielders (8): Sakaguchi Yumeho (Nittele Beza), Madoka Haji (Iga Football Club Kunoichi), Rumi Utsugi (Seattle Reign FC), Nakajima Tomomi (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Naomoto Hikaru (Urawa Reds Ladies), Nakamori Yu (Nittele Beresa), Sumida Yu (Nittele Beza), Hasegawa Yu (Nitere Beresa)
Forwards (5): Tomari Shiho (AC Nagano Parseiro Women), Suganawa Yuuki (Urawa Reds Ladies), Yokoyama Kumi (1. FFC Frankfurt), Tanaka Miyan (Nitere Beleza), Kuwana Fuwa (Nitere Beza)

U.S. U-20 WNT falls to Germany while U-17 WNT draw Canada

The U.S. U-20 women’s national team closed out its four-game European series in disappointing fashion, dropping their final match 1-0 to hosts Germany. The game remained scoreless until the final 10 minutes when the ball deflected off of Germany’s Giulia Gwinn and into the net. Despite the U.S. matching Germany’s 10 shots in the match, they were unable to equalize and suffered their first loss of the trip.

The result came just days after the team came from behind to defeat Germany, 2-1, on July 11. Earlier in the trip, the team handed England a pair of losses to open the overseas series.

Meanwhile in Weifang, China, the U-17 WNT drew Canada, 1-1, in their second match of the U-16 CFA International Women’s Youth Football Tournament. The U.S.’s lone goal was scored by Michaela Agresti off a Kate Weisner corner kick in the 24th minute. The Canadian side would then also score off a corner kick in the 50th minute, but neither team could break the deadlock before the final whistle.

The U-17s close out tournament play on July 16 against China. The match will determine the tournament winner, as both teams are tied with four points apiece. A win would crown either side tournament champions, but a draw would see the winner decided by tie break, and China would win on goal differential.

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