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What will the USWNT’s midfield look like without Julie Ertz?

Photo Copyright Lewis Gettier for The Equalizer

Depth is not even remotely a problem for the United States women’s national team — except maybe for head coach Vlatko Andonovski’s ability to sleep at night as he figures out which 18 players to take to this summer’s Olympics — but the absence of Julie Ertz this week due to injury presents a compelling test case for the Americans. What will the midfield look like?

The easy answer is that Rose Lavelle, Sam Mewis and Lindsey Horan will shift their roles slightly, with either Mewis or Horan taking on more defensive responsibility in the absence of Ertz, the team’s bruising No. 6 — defensive midfielder — who commands the center of the park like few others in the world.

Ertz is recovering from a sprained MCL sustained last month only minutes into the Chicago Red Stars’ opening game of the National Women’s Soccer League regular season. Her injury sparked immediate concern that one of the most important pieces to the U.S.’ last two World Cup triumphs would miss the Olympics, but Andonovski said on Wednesday that both Ertz and Tobin Heath (recovering from a knee injury) look like they will be ready to play by the Olympics.

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