by Paul Kennedy
Knee injuries have robbed the U.S. national team of attacking stars Catarina Macario and Mallory Swanson.
Captain Becky Sauerbrunn missed out on a fourth World Cup with a foot injury.
Sauerbrunn and Swanson are among 14 players from the 2019 U.S. world championship team who won't be around for the USA's bid for a historic three-peat at the 2023 Women's World Cup.
On Wednesday, Vlatko Andonovski named the 23 players he plans to take to Australia and New Zealand next month. (FIFA's deadline for final rosters is July 9.)
The 23 players include nine holdovers and 14 newcomers, representing the largest turnover from one World Cup to the next in the history of the USWNT, world champion in 1991 and 1999 in addition to 2015 and 2019.
Holdovers. A trio of players are headed to their fourth World Cup: Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Kelley O'Hara, all starters when the USA won the 2019 World Cup in France.
Other returning starters from the France 2019 final are goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, left back Crystal Dunn and midfielders Julie Ertz and Rose Lavelle.
The only other returnees from four years ago -- Lindsey Horan and Emily Sonnett -- did not play in the 2-0 win over the Netherlands in the 2019 final.
Newcomers. Newcomers include 22-year-old Sophia Smith, the 2022 NWSL MVP with 14 goals and 3 assists for the Portland Thorns and the NWSL leader among American players in both goals (7) and assists (5) in 2023.
Racing Louisville's Savannah DeMelo, a second-year pro at age 25, made a late run to earn a spot in midfield as the team's only uncapped player. Alyssa Thompson, who turned pro in January, is at age 18 the second youngest player ever on a U.S. World Cup roster.
Four players made their first U.S. World Cup roster at age 30 or older: Kristie Mewis, Aubrey Kingsbury, Sofia Huerta and Lynn Williams, a testament to the impact success in the NWSL can have for players, even late in their careers.
Kingsbury claimed the third spot in the goalkeeping corps behind Casey Murphy and Naeher after being passed over in favor of Adrianna Franch for the USA's seven games in 2023.
Omissions. The most notable omissions on the final roster are Tierna Davidson and Ashley Hatch.
Davidson, the youngest player on the 2019 World Cup team, was considered a fixture in the starting lineup until she suffered a knee injury in March 2022 that kept her out for the rest of the year. A pair of former Stanford teammates, Alana Cook and Naomi Girma, now start at center back.
Davidson returned for the start of the 2023 NWSL season with the Chicago Red Stars but played only one game for the USA, a 1-0 win over Ireland in April. Red Star losses in the month before Andonovski settled on his squad included 3-0, 4-0 and 5-0 defeats in NWSL play.
Hatch, the Washington Spirit forward, played in five of the USA's six matches in 2023 for a total of 179 matches, the most of any player not selected besides Sauerbrunn and Swanson, both injured. She has scored six goals (three on spot kicks) for the Spirit to rank second behind Smith among Americans players in the NWSL in 2023.
Aubrey Kingsbury, 31 (Washington Spirit; 1/-)
Casey Murphy, 27 (NC Courage; 14/-)
Alyssa Naeher, 35 (Chicago Red Stars; 90/-)
Alana Cook, 26 (OL Reign; 24/1)
Crystal Dunn, 30 (Portland Thorns; 131/24)
Emily Fox, 24 (NC Courage; 28/1)
Naomi Girma, 23 (San Diego Wave; 15/0)
Sofia Huerta, 30 (OL Reign; 29/0)
Kelley O’Hara, 34 (Gotham FC; 157/3)
Emily Sonnett, 29 (OL Reign; 74/1)
Savannah DeMelo, 25 (Racing Louisville; 0/0)
Julie Ertz, 31 (Angel City FC; 118/20)
Lindsey Horan, 29 (Lyon, France; 128/27)
Rose Lavelle, 28 (OL Reign; 88/24)
Kristie Mewis, 27 (Gotham FC; 51/7)
Ashley Sanchez, 24 (Washington Spirit; 24/3)
Andi Sullivan, 27 (Washington Spirit; 44/3)
Alex Morgan, 33 (San Diego Wave; 206/121)
Megan Rapinoe, 37 (OL Reign; 199/63)
Trinity Rodman, 21 (Washington Spirit; 17/2)
Sophia Smith, 22 (Portland Thorns; 29/12)
Alyssa Thompson, 18 (Angel City FC; 3/0)
Lynn Williams, 30 (Gotham FC; 52/15)
Note: In parentheses are caps and goals.