The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) recently announced its roster ahead of the 2022 Concacaf W Championship. The Red, White, and Blue are still top contenders for World Cup qualifying and ready to take their place as the No. 1 team in the world. However, there are some noticeable takeaways following the roster’s unveiling.
Christen Press Left Off the Roster
The biggest red flag seen when viewing the USWNT roster was that Christen Press was not listed. Press has contributed to the team since 2013, playing in 196 games and recording 124 goals in her career. She was a part of both the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Championship teams.
Reports claim Press tore her right ACL and will be out for the remainder of the NWSL season.
“My heart is broken: I’ve torn my acl,” the forward wrote on Twitter. “Readily accepting all love, prayers, virtual hugs, dog pics, and smudging ceremonies. Love you all xx.” Press is just one of many USWNT players who have fallen victim to ACL tears.
In a statement to the media, Coach Vlatko Andonovski explained that Press wouldn’t have made the roster even if she was healthy.
“Christen Press was not on the roster even before the injury,” Andonovski told reporters. “We’re very sorry for her injury and don’t have confirming information on the extension or the significance of the injury. We just hope that it is not too serious.”
Coach Vlatko also said that for her to the USWNT, she would need to climb the depth chart and overtake the other “competitive” forwards on the team.
However, this is where his statement becomes questionable. Megan Rapinoe made the roster but has only played in several games for OL Reign, recording no goals and failing to play a full 90 minutes in any contest.
Does Andonovski love the leadership role Rapinoe adds to the USWNT, or does he know something the rest of the world doesn’t, aka the finale of Rapinoe’s career? Despite her injury, Press is one of those athletes who has been consistent throughout the years. If Andonovski was looking for a competitive forward, he should have selected Press over Rapinoe in a heartbeat.
Bella Bixby Misses the USWNT Cut
Another concern was that out of the three goaltenders listed on the USWNT roster, Bella Bixby did not receive the call-up to the national team.
As the goalkeeper for the Portland Thorns, Bixby has been one of the NWSL’s best. She ranks second in shutouts and has tied the record for the fewest goals allowed during the NWSL season.
Casey Murphy is also a top keeper, but it can be easy to overlook that her NC Courage squad is last in the league. Bixby is ranked fourth overall out of all GK this season with seven goals allowed in 720 minutes of gameplay. Meanwhile, Murphy is ranked 12th overall with six goals allowed in just 450 minutes of gameplay.
Coach Andonovski is attempting to usher in the next generation of NWSL stars, but some of his decisions do not make sense and contradict what he has said to the press. If the team is full of competitors, place the best ones out on the field. Yes, different players can contribute different things. But these are what veterans are for — guiding and aiding the new players.
I do not think this USWNT roster will find any success, and to be frank, Vlatko is on the hot seat due to his unsuccessful run in the Olympics. Time will only tell his future as the team’s coach.
Read about the United States’ Men’s National Team’s journey to the Concacaf M Championship.