Pair of Arizonans named to World Cup squad

May 3, 2019

After spending most of the last three years bringing new blood into the U.S. women’s soccer team, coach Jill Ellis dramatically reversed course Thursday and named three experienced warhorses to her 23-player roster for this summer’s World Cup.

World Cup veterans Ali Krieger and Morgan Brian and 2016 Olympian Allie Long got some of the final places on the squad, even though each has recently gone through long spells without playing for Ellis.

Making their first World Cup trips are forwards Jessica McDonald and Mallory Pugh; midfielders Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Samantha Mewis, and Long; defenders Tierna Davidson, Crystal Dunn, and Emily Sonnett; and goalkeeper Adrianna Franch.

McDonald, 31, has a fascinating story. The only mother on the U.S. squad, she played in the shadows in the NWSL for years, then delivered 10 goals and 8 assists in 2018 to help the North Carolina Courage win three trophies.

Twelve of the 23 players from the title-winning squad four years ago made this team: forwards Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press, and Tobin Heath; midfielders Julie Ertz and Brian; defenders Becky Sauerbrunn, O’Hara, and Krieger; and goalkeepers Alyssa Naeher and Harris.

The biggest omissions are defensive midfielder McCall Zerboni and outside back Casey Short. Short’s absence might be big. She’s been the only true left back in the national team pool for some time.