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Can USWNT qualify for World Cup, Olympics? High questions forward of CONCACAF W Championship

Can USWNT qualify for World Cup, Olympics? Top questions ahead of CONCACAF W Championship


For the U.S. girls’s nationwide staff, all roads to the 2023 Ladies’s World Cup and the 2024 Olympics run by Monterrey, Mexico, the place the squad will start its qualification marketing campaign Monday.

When you’ve by no means heard of the CONCACAF W Championship, which runs July 4-18, there is a good cause for that: it is a model new competitors. But it surely’s a reasonably necessary one, particularly due to its new format: it can function the qualification match for each these aforementioned occasions, the primary time CONCACAF has opted for a double-qualification format. The stakes have by no means been increased.

– ESPN+ viewers information: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, FA Cup, extra
– Futbol Americas on ESPN+: U.S. groups, Mexico, CONCACAF

The match ought to be slightly forgiving for the Individuals. The highest 4 groups within the eight-team match qualify robotically for the 2023 Ladies’s World Cup co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, that means the USWNT solely must survive the group stage. However qualifying for the Olympics is the place it will get trickier: solely the winner of the match will instantly qualify for Paris 2024. The second- and third-placed groups are usually not out of it — they may compete in a playoff to be held in September 2023 for the second and remaining CONCACAF spot — however the U.S. would certainly wish to get qualifying over with, if attainable.

Here’s a take a look at the important thing questions dealing with the U.S. heading into the match:


Who will lead the USWNT into the longer term?

Coach Vlatko Andonovski has not been shy to solid veterans apart in favor of youthful expertise that is tearing up the Nationwide Ladies’s Soccer League in 2022. Tobin Heath was not known as in for these qualifiers and though Christen Press tore an ACL shortly earlier than the roster was introduced, Andonovski stated he wasn’t planning to name her in anyway.

As an alternative, newer gamers like Sophia Smith, Ashley Sanchez and Trinity Rodman are being requested to guide the assault, they usually’ve seemed a lot succesful. (Mallory Pugh is not new, however after years on the outs with the nationwide staff, she is again and looking out like a brand new participant, too.)

It was a serious blow to Andonovski’s deliberate youth motion when Catarina Macario tore an ACL final month, however the USWNT confirmed off loads of threats when it gained the SheBelieves Cup in February with a roster principally devoid of veteran attackers. Nevertheless, when it got here time to pick this qualifying roster, Andonovski could not transfer on from Alex Morgan, who has been off to her greatest membership begin in her total profession at age 33, scoring 11 in 10 video games. Megan Rapinoe, at 36 (turning 37 on Tuesday), could now not be a 90-minute starter, however Andonovski was clear that he felt she brings one thing particular and unpredictable to the desk. That veteran presence continues to be wanted, it appears.

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So who’s going to paved the way to the following World Cup and Olympics? The U.S. had the oldest squads on the previous two World Cups (and gained each of them) however Andonovski appears decided to go a distinct route. For the primary time since they joined the staff, veterans corresponding to Morgan are usually not assured minutes, not to mention roster spots, however it can come right down to who scores, who leads, and who makes probably the most influence.

Is the USWNT prepared for its subsequent goalkeeper transition?

Alyssa Naeher has been the USWNT’s beginning goalkeeper since late 2016, the successor to a task held by Hope Solo for the higher a part of a decade. So when the 34-year-old was injured throughout the Olympics final 12 months, the protected assumption was that she’d be the starter as soon as she was wholesome once more. Nevertheless, that is nonetheless solely an assumption because the USWNT’s latest matches, and Andonovski’s personal phrases, have offered little readability.

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– Greatest gamers underneath 21: USWNT’s Rodman at high

Just lately, in all places Andonovski has been capable of finding a youthful participant to take over a task, he has taken that probability. Defenders Naomi Girma and Alana Cook dinner, who every had single-digit caps after they made this qualification roster, will most likely get vital minutes in Mexico. Morgan was on hearth within the NWSL however Andonovski nonetheless resisted calling her up for friendlies, opting to provide new gamers an opportunity. So why ought to goalkeeper be any completely different?

Casey Murphy, the 26-year-old North Carolina Braveness keeper, has made a robust case within the NWSL, and he or she obtained the nod to start out for the U.S. in a pre-qualification warm-up towards Colombia.

Can Mexico or Canada spoil the USWNT’s probabilities?

Let’s be clear: the U.S. ought to completely qualify for the World Cup by the point they depart Mexico. The Individuals have by no means didn’t qualify for a Ladies’s World Cup since FIFA began the occasion, and because the No. 1-ranked staff on the planet, it is actually not an excessive amount of to ask for the U.S. to complete within the high 4 in Monterrey both.

Qualifying for the Olympics is nicely inside attain as nicely. Of the 9 earlier CONCACAF tournaments the USWNT has competed in, they gained eight of them. However that one they did not win in 2010 is the place it will get fascinating. The U.S. suffered a shock loss to Mexico and couldn’t qualify instantly for the World Cup: that point round, the Individuals needed to face Italy in a home-and-away playoff to clinch their spot.

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Sebastian Salazar feels USWNT’s Trinity Rodman has the potential to turn into one of many high stars of U.S. soccer.

Whereas Mexico are thought of prone to qualify for the World Cup themselves at dwelling and are poised to ultimately see the advantage of their home league, Liga MX Femenil, Mexico is drawn into the identical group because the U.S., so the Individuals will not even see them within the knockout spherical.

As an alternative the staff to concentrate on right here is Canada. After profitable gold on the Olympics final 12 months, there isn’t any longer any dispute that Canada ought to be thought of a dominant staff in girls’s soccer. Their type of play could also be a extra a gritty and defensive strategy than their American counterparts — their street to gold in Japan wasn’t paved in lots of targets by the knockout rounds — however it may be terribly efficient nonetheless, particularly towards groups that wish to assault, just like the USWNT. The U.S., bear in mind, needed to accept a bronze medal in the identical Olympics after repeated stumbles.

It is simple to examine a Canada-U.S. remaining with an automated Olympic qualifying spot on the road and at that time, it may go both approach.



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