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‘Special,’ creative Ashley Sanchez gives USWNT another option in No. 10 role

Depth is always good, and Sanchez’s 20th cap — a 2-0 win over Canada — was her most important yet. She says she is growing in confidence ahead of the World Cup, but she’s still learning to play with more freedom.

Andrea Vilchez/SPP

ORLANDO, Fla. — Ashley Sanchez nearly opened the floodgates for the United States women’s national team two minutes into Thursday’s match at Exploria Stadium, but a diving save from Canada goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan guided Sanchez’s knuckling shot over the crossbar.

Sanchez did not ultimately find the back of the net in the United States’ convincing 2-0 victory, but the play was significant. So, too, was Sanchez starting for the second straight game — this time in place of an injured Rose Lavelle rather than alongside her — and eighth time in her budding international career. In Sanchez, the U.S. has a clear and creative secondary option in the No. 10 role.

“I definitely would say I’m more comfortable for sure,” Sanchez told The Equalizer postgame. “I played in a lot of games last year and I got good minutes and I think going into this year, I feel like this is my time to be more confident and go into each game knowing that I have a place on this team. Just want the ball more and be more confident.”

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