USWNT coach Vlatko Andonowski’s toughest Olympic football roster decision

Regarding the U.S. women’s national team he will coach in the Olympics, Vlatko Andonovski will make some very difficult calls, and then make some very difficult calls to players who will not travel to Tokyo.

In the final game of the three-game series that beat Nigeria 2-0 on Wednesday night, to help the team prepare-separate the leading candidates from the unfortunate ones-Andonowski has nothing The list of players who can distract him to complete Lean 18 for the first major international game he will manage with the United States

Given the depth of talent in the USWNT player pool, this is almost an impossible task, and the situation is complicated by injuries that prevented the two regulars from participating in the team’s most recent game.

Andonovs told Sports News this week that even if he is allowed to sign 23 players, it is difficult to lay off staff, just like the FIFA Women’s World Cup, but in this case, it is mainly to relieve the two. Or the disappointment of others. Three players who almost succeeded. For the Olympics, there needs to be an ingenuity to ensure that the team can deal with any injuries or card suspensions that may occur.

Andonovsky’s lineup for the Nigeria game showed that, considering the starters Kali Lloyd and Alex Morgan’s playing time at the center position are almost equal, he has a preference for his top 11 available players or 12 players have a deep understanding. But he can only add six more players, including defensive midfielder Julie Oates and veteran Tobin Heath, who has the right side of the American offense in both World Cup championships.

“I would say that the level of confidence in participating in the Olympics is higher than before,” Andonovsky said, which means before the team defeats Portugal, Jamaica and Nigeria without conceding a goal. “I feel very good about where we are and where the players are. I feel very good about making the final decision. I think we know the players very well. For the past year and a half, I have been for the players I have accumulated a lot of knowledge and data. When the decision time comes, I believe we will make the right decision for this team.”

These are Andonowski’s most difficult decisions:

Guard: Who is the extra guard?

The starting quartet of center defenders Becky Sauerbrunn and Abby Dalkemper and outside defenders Christo Dunn and Kelly O’Hara started the World Cup finals, but they were still airtight.

Tierna Davidson is the top backup for center position and left back. Therefore, it comes down to Midge Purce, who played mainly forward in the recent NWSL season, and Emily Sonnett, who can play right back, center back and defensive midfield against Nigeria, while Ertz continued to recover.

Midfielder: How many Mewise are there in Japan?

A year ago, Kristie Mewis forced herself to return to the national team with her outstanding performance in the NWSL Challenge Cup Championship. However, now at the age of 30, she has no time to participate in major competitions. Her sister Samantha did this as the starter of the World Cup champion in 2019.

Kristie Mewis (pictured below) was the most active American offensive player in the first 20 minutes against Nigeria, but her talent did not produce any goals.

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Eltz is the most indispensable player in the American lineup; as long as she is healthy, which is expected, she will join the team. Lavelle’s absence in the game against Nigeria shows how important her originality and cohesion are for this offense. Sam Mewis did not perform well on Wednesday, but is still an important offensive player. Lindsey Horan was at a disadvantage for most of the three games, making up for Ertz’s absence, and at least showing some hope in this role. Her value as an offensive player is unquestionable.

This leaves room for Kristie Mewis or the promising young Catarina Macario, who is new to professional football and USWNT, but she thinks both are The star of the future.

Forward: Can they wait for Heath?

Perhaps the most skilled player on the list, Heath played 8 times for Manchester United in the Women’s Super League season and scored 4 goals. So she is still Tobin Heath. However, due to a knee injury, she has not participated in the competition since April and did not appear in USWNT at all in 2021.

In her absence, Christine Press (pictured below) may take over the initial job. In the first half of the game against Nigeria, she scored her 61st international goal and became the ninth scorer of the national team’s career. Lynn Williams doubled the lead and won the victory with a clever finish in overtime. He forced Andonowski to make his toughest decision.

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He will let Morgan and Lloyd serve as centers, with Megan Rapino and Pres on both sides. But will he lose what Williams delivered? In eight games this year, Williams scored two goals. She may be the fastest player on the team.

“I talked a lot about his process with Flatko because this is the first time he has announced the roster,” team captain Schulbrunn told reporters on Wednesday. “Just tell him how we did it in the past and what the players really appreciate-honesty.”

Honest fact: This is not easy for anyone, although it will be the hardest for those who are behind.

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