U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) Head Coach Jill Ellis named her 24-player training camp roster for the Team USA’s April friendlies against Australia and Belgium. The camp announcement includes former Colorado Real striker Mallory Pugh and Colorado Rush midfielder Lindsey Horan, who has been cleared to return to practice and play after a recent quadriceps injury.
The two friendlies include a match against Australia on April 4th at DICK’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado and against Belgium on April 7th in downtown Los Angeles at Banc of California Stadium, home of MLS’ LAFC.
U.S. Soccer reports that a small number of tickets remain for the USA vs. Australia match, including in the Colorado Rapids Summit Club and limited view bleacher seats. All tickets are available at ussoccer.com.
The game brings home forward Mallory Pugh who is from Highlands Ranch and Golden’s Lindsey. Both appear to have solidified their respective position as starters on Jill Ellis’ squad. Pugh started in all of the 2019 SheBelieves Cup games, while Horan, before her injury, was a fixture in the midfield.
Horan spoke with The Oregonian on March 5th after a training session with her NWSL team, the Portland Thorns. “I’m a lot better,” Horan said. “I’m progressing. Obviously, it’s a frustrating little injury, but I’m four or five weeks out (from when I sustained the injury) and I’m doing really well. I was back on the field yesterday and today, which was exciting.”
As a result of the severity of her injury, Horan was omitted from the SheBelieves Cup roster and three-game tournament. “To be perfectly honest, it sucked,” said Horan about watching the national team compete from afar. “It’s very hard to watch your team and not be there, but it’s also cool in a different way. You get to watch them from a different perspective and you see everything and you get to analyze the game... I thought we were so great on so many levels and then there were, obviously, a lot of mistakes that happened and some defensive errors. I personally think this is the time to have those errors and we got to learn from them.”
USA vs. Australia
Team USA (1st in the FIFA world rankings) will first take on the 6th-ranked Matildas, who qualified for the Women’s World Cup by defeating Thailand in penalty kicks in the semifinal of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup. The Aussies squad then fell to the 8th-ranked Japan in the championship game, 1-0.
The last three games between the teams produced a 3-1 win for the USA in the opening game of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a 1-0 loss at the 2017 Tournament of Nations, and a 1-1 draw on a late goal by Horan at the 2018 Tournament of Nations.
Australia could bring a potent team to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park filled with National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) stars. Thirteen of its players currently play with NWSL teams, which means they will be familiar opponents to both Mallory Pugh and Lindsey Horan, as well as their U.S. teammates who also play in the league. Horan was NWSL 2018 MVP, while Pugh is a rising star with the Washington (D.C.) Spirit. She has amassed 48 caps and has scored 13 goals since joining the team.
Following the matches with Australia and 21st-ranked Belgium, the Lady Yanks will play in three-game “Send-Off Series” during the month of May before departing for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Tournament in France.
As part of the nationwide send-off, the USWNT will host FIFA 48th-ranked South Africa on May 12th in Santa Clara, California; 19th-ranked New Zealand on May 16th in St. Louis, Missouri; and 27th-ranked Mexico in Harrison, New Jersey on May 26th.
USWNT Roster - Australia & Belgium Friendlies (NWSL Club; Caps/Goals):
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 35/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 17/1), Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 80/24), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride; 98/1), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 153/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 27/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 30/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 77/18), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 64/7), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 23/6), Allie Long (Reign FC; 40/6), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 45/8), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 11/0), McCall Zerboni (NC Courage; 8/0)
FORWARDS (7): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 146/27), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 269/105), Jessica McDonald (NC Courage; 6/1), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 158/99), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 111/47), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 48/13), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC; 149/43)