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The 2024 USWNT Olympic Team: Roster Prediction

June 21, 2024, by Rohtas Wadera | Courtesy of www.girlssoccernetowrk.com





The Olympics are right around the corner, underlying the imminent selection of the USWNT roster that will attempt to bring home gold. The Stars and Stripes have two friendlies next month against Mexico and Costa Rica. These are the last two matches before the final roster is selected. While Emma Hayes can change her mind about who she wants to choose, most of the roster selections seem clear-cut. Here’s a prediction of the USWNT Olympic Team.   

 

Predicted Roster: 


Goalkeepers (2): Alyssa Naeher, Casey Murphy


Defenders (6): Naomi Girma, Tierna Davidson, Emily Fox, Jenna Nighswonger, Crystal Dunn, Emily Sonnett


Midfielders (5): Korbin Albert, Rose Lavelle, Lindsey Horan, Sam Coffey, Catarina Macario


Forwards (5):  Mallory Swanson, Trinity Rodman, Sophia Smith, Alex Morgan, Jaedyn Shaw

 

Goalkeepers


Alyssa Naeher has been in incredible form for the USWNT and is the de facto No. 1 keeper. Ever since the last World Cup, she’s been on a mission, and no one is taking her spot. 


Regarding the backup, I think Casey Murphy will get the nod, but you couldn’t go wrong with Jane Campbell either, as both are tied for the league lead in clean sheets with five. The main reason why I’m picking Murphy over Campbell is because U.S. Soccer does a good job of rotating whoever the backup will be. In the past, we’ve seen Aubrey Kingsbury, Jane Campbell, and Casey Murphy all be the backup to Naeher during major competitions. We’re splitting hairs, but Murphy is the youngest of the keepers, and getting her this experience is critical for her future prospects as a USWNT keeper. 


Defenders


The first name on the sheet is Naomi Girma, and no one is going to dispute that. Girma has quickly become one of the best center-backs in the world and will be relied on to anchor the backline. The return of Tierna Davidson isn’t being talked about enough. She was revered and admired the same way Naomi Grima was when she first burst onto the scene. Injuries have derailed Davidson the past few seasons, and we’re finally starting to see her old self back. Davidson and Girma are as strong of a center-back pairing as you’ll see. 


The other four players feature two young stars and two veterans who can be interchanged. Ultimately, it’ll come down to what Hayes’ preference is. Will she give the younger players a chance and start Emily Fox with Jenna Nighswonger at left and right back? This gives Hayes the option to bring Crystal Dunn and Emily Sonnett off the bench, which is a great luxury. If Hayes wants to go for experience, we’ll likely see Dunn and Sonnett starting instead.


Regardless, these are the six defenders who will be picked, although Casey Krueger has an outside shot to get picked because of how well she’s been playing for the Washington Spirit. 

 

Midfielders


We’ll start with the three players who must be included in the squad without a doubt. Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, and Sam Coffey are the engines of this team, and the USWNT’s success is tied to how well the midfield plays. There’s plenty of balance between the three, with Lavelle as more of an attacking midfielder, Horan as a true center midfielder, and Sam Coffey who can defend and pass around from more of a defensive position. Catarina Macario has come back healthy, and her versatile skill set will help tremendously in creating chances and scoring goals.


The last spot is certainly a controversial one if it does indeed go to Korbin Albert. After her social media activity came to light, many wondered if she’d still be a part of the team or if she’d receive consequences. Neither has come to fruition, and it appears on the outside that Albert is okay with her teammates because she chose to put the team’s Pride jerseys on. There could still be some tension between her and her teammates.


The reason why I think she makes the team is simple: she’s got the skills to fill a role in the midfield, which has been an issue for the USWNT in the past. In this case, talent takes precedence over controversy, and Albert shows she’s a better fit in the midfield than Andi Sullivan. One thing that is always true in sports is that if a player is really good but they are involved in controversy, most teams will throw political correctness out the window for the sake of winning. That could also be the case here, with Albert receiving the call-up for USWNT friendlies this close to the Olympics. 

 

Forwards


Similar to the midfielders, there are three strikes that Emma Hayes simply cannot leave off the team, and we all know who they are. Mallory Swanson, Sophia Smith, and Trinity Rodman. All three have taken their game to another level, and with all three at 26 years old and younger, the USWNT attack is in great hands. All of them have emerged as superstars and based on the South Korea matches, they’re starting to build more chemistry between the three of them. These three will be the key to victory. The other two strikers are both perfect options to either come off the bench as a super sub or start in case of injury. 


Jaedyn Shaw has performed well for club and country, with six goals combined this year. If there’s ever a case where the USWNT attack has been stifled, Jaedyn Shaw can come in and wreak havoc. An even greater luxury to have is Alex Morgan off the bench. Morgan could start over Sophia Smith in the middle of the field, but I think the better option is to have her off the bench where she’s fresh. Plus, her leadership and experience are a must-have in the locker room. 


This is an incredibly strong roster that looks poised to make the Semis and win a medal, at minimum. Their goal is obviously the gold medal.  



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