May 18, 2016
Ellis calls in 25 players for U.S.-Japan friendlies
Boston Breakers defender Whitney Engen and Western New York Flash midfielder Samantha Lewis of Hanson, Mass., have been called in to training camp as the U.S. Women’s National Team prepares for two games against Japan.
Coach Jill Ellis named 25 players Wednesday for the camp, which begins in Denver May 27. The U.S. will meet Japan at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., at 7 p.m. MT June 2 (FS1), and at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland at 12:30 p.m. ET June 5 (ESPN 2).
“We are going with a slightly larger roster for this camp than the last few, so internally we can play in more 11v11 training scenarios," Ellis said. "My staff and I have been watching the league play, and now we get to evaluate them back together. Both environments are important."
The U.S. features 15 players who were members of the 2015 Women’s World Cup championship team, and three players from the Denver area: midfielder Lindsey Horan, forward Mallory Pugh and defender Jaelene Hinkle. The match in Colorado is sold out, and nearly 19,000 tickets have been sold for the game in Cleveland as the USA and Japan meet for the first times since the WWC title game. U.S. captain Carli Lloyd, who scored a hat trick in that match, is not on the roster as she continues rehabilitation of a strained MCL suffered during NWSL play with the Houston Dash.
Hope Solo comes into the matches with 98 career shutouts and the possibility of hitting 100, making her the first goalkeeper in U.S. history to achieve that milestone. Solo has eight shutouts in her nine wins in 2016.
The roster features the return of defender Christie Rampone, who has not played since the Women’s World Cup Victory Tour in September, but has since recovered from knee surgery and has played in all five matches for Sky Blue FC this season.
· The USA’s 2016 Olympic roster will feature 18 players made up of 16 field players and two goalkeepers.
· The U.S. will be looking to equal its best ever start to a calendar year. In 1991 and 1997, the USA started the year 12-0-0, outscoring the opposition, 80-1, in 1991, and 55-6 in 1997.
· The USA is 11-0-0 in 2016 and has outscored opponents, 42-1, winning 10 games by shutout. The only goal the USA has allowed this year came in a 2-1 victory against Germany in the SheBelieves Cup final.
· Of the 25 players, only defender Gina Lewandowski, who recently helped FC Bayern Munich win the 2015/2016 Women’s Bundesliga title, is making her first appearance of the year. Lewandowski earned her first cap during the Women’s World Cup Victory Tour as a substitute against Brazil.
· Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, a starter for the Portland Thorns, and midfielder Rose Lavelle, a senior at Wisconsin, received their first callups since January.
· The USA and Japan have met in the last three world championship finals – the 2011 Women’s World Cup, the 2012 Olympics and the 2015 Women’s World Cup – but Japan failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics.
· This will be the USA’s fourth visit to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and fifth to the Denver area. The WNT has won all four games, playing at DSG Park in 2008 (1-0 vs. Brazil), 2012 (6-2 vs. Australia) and 2014 (2-0 vs. China PR). The USA defeated Brazil 6-0 at Mile High Stadium back in 1999 following the Women’s World Cup triumph on home soil.
· This will be the USA’s third visit to Cleveland, the previous two matches at FirstEnergy Stadium (formerly Cleveland Browns Stadium) in June 2007, a 2-0 win over China PR, and May 2010, a 4-0 victory over Germany.
· Japan, ranked seventh in the world, has replaced Norio Sasaki, who coached the team to its greatest triumphs, with Asako Takakura, the first female coach of Japan’s senior Women’s National Team. Takakura, a four-time Asian Women’s Coach of the Year, earned 79 caps as a midfielder for Japan, appearing in 1991 and 1995 World Cups and the 1996 Olympics. She has coached every age group from Under-13 on, guiding Japan to the 2014 Under-17 Women’s World Cup title and the 2015 Asian U-19 Championship while also serving on the FIFA technical study group at last year’s World Cup.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster
• GOALKEEPERS (4): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
• DEFENDERS (10): Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Gina Lewandowski (FC Bayern Munich), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)
• MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City)
• FORWARDS (4): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)