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Morgan returns from sprained ankle to join USWNT

Alex Morgan is back with the USWNT after spraining her ankle in October. (USA Today Images)

Alex Morgan is back with the USWNT after spraining her ankle in October. (USA Today Images)

The huge, massive, somewhat shocking news of the day is that Lori Chalupny is back with the United States women’s national team for the first time in five years after finally being cleared by doctors. U.S. Soccer would not clear her — despite team and independent doctors clearing her — because of her history of concussions.

But the other big news of the day is that Alex Morgan is in fact healthy enough to travel with the team to Brazil, which has been her goal since spraining her ankle in World Cup qualifying in October.

Morgan vowed to be more cautious with this injury. She injured the same left ankle this time last year, and tried to return too soon, leading the sprain to turn into a stress reaction that kept her sidelined for nearly seven months.

“Hopefully, I’ll be with the team in Brazil and leading up into the preparation for the World Cup,” Morgan told The Oregonian last month. “I really hope that everything is okay and I’m back on the field in a couple weeks and that’s why I’m being a little bit more conservative because I don’t want to push it too much and have negative effects down the road.”

Morgan injured her ankle on Oct. 17 in a win over Guatemala and was initially ruled out 4-6 weeks.

The other notable addition to the roster is UCLA midfielder Sam Mewis. She is the only other college player on the 24-player roster in addition to Virginia midfielder Morgan Brian, who is in Florida at the College Cup after her team beat UCLA to advance to Friday’s semifinals. Brian will join the team after Virginia’s season ends on Friday in the semifinals or Sunday in the final.

Defender Crystal Dunn is also back with the team after missing qualifying due to a mild MCL sprain in her right knee.

“It’s a chance to travel to a new environment and play international matches in unfamiliar territory, which is always valuable when getting ready for a World Cup,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis said of her roster. “It’s pretty exciting to get to play in a World Cup stadium, and many of our players have never played or even been to Brazil before. It’s a unique opportunity to go to a fantastic soccer country, have a great cultural experience and get four competitive games to end the year on a high note.”

The International Tournament of Brasilia will be staged entirely at National Stadium Mane Garrincha, which hosted seven matches during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. has played in Brazil six times, last appearing there in 1997.

USWNT roster for International Tournament of Brasilia

GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)

DEFENDERS (9): Lori Chalupny (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (WNY Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Virginia), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (UCLA), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)

FORWARDS (5): Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (WNY Flash)


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