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Five uncapped players highlight USWNT roster to face Australia

Photo Copyright Hannah di Lorenzo for The Equalizer

The makeover has begun. Vlatko Andonovski named his roster for this month’s pair of United States women’s national team games away against Australia, and it features 12 players with 10 caps or fewer, including five who are previously uncapped.

Goalkeepers Bella Bixby and Casey Murphy, along with attacking midfielder Ashley Sanchez, and forwards Bethany Balcer and Morgan Weaver, will all look to make their first appearances for the U.S. after standout performances this season for their National Women’s Soccer League teams.

Andonovski noted some absences due to injury, in addition to beginning the process of shifting focus toward the 2023 World Cup. The Equalizer previously reported that there will be a vaccination requirement for all members of the United States’ traveling party, which likely plays a role in at least some absences of mainstays and potential new call-ups alike.

The first match will take place in Stadium Australia in Sydney on Nov. 27 (locally, Nov. 26 at 11 p.m. ET in the U.S. on FS2), and the second at McDonald James Stadium in Newcastle on Nov. 30 (4:05 a.m. ET in the U.S. on ESPN). The 83,500-seat Stadium Australia will be the site of the final for the 2023 World Cup, which will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

“We still have a few players out with injuries, so this roster is a mixture of players with a lot of experience in World Cups and Olympics, some who have been a part of the program for a while but who are looking to make their mark in international soccer and a few who are getting a first chance with the National Team in an event like this,” Andonovski said. “We’ve turned the page towards 2023 World Cup qualifying and rarely do we get the chance to test young players in environments filled with adversity, so we need to take advantage of what these two games will offer us. It’s exciting to get a chance to see all these players together in our environment and give them a chance to play against one of the best teams in the world.”

NWSL MVP candidates Ashley Hatch — who won the Golden Boot with 10 regular-season goals — and Margaret Purce are each on the roster, with Purce notably listed as a forward after being previously trialed at fullback.

Andonovski said that Mallory Pugh — another MVP candidate — and likely NWSL Rookie of the Year Trinity Rodman were invited but opted out. Kelley O’Hara will miss the camp for family reasons, Andonovski said. Crystal Dunn and Christen Press, who opted out of recent U.S. games, previously decided to take the rest of the year off, Andonovski said.


GOALKEEPERS (3): Bella Bixby (Portland Thorns FC; 0), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 7), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 0)

DEFENDERS (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign; 2/0), Abby Dahlkemper (Houston Dash; 77/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 43/1), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC; 6/0), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign; 7/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 197/0), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 61/0)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 106/24), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 66/17), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 12/3), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 31/4), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 0/0), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 20/2)

FORWARDS (6): Bethany Balcer (OL Reign; 0/0), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 2/0), Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 7/2), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 10/1), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 43/13), Morgan Weaver (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0)

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