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Three Pride Players Make USWNT World Cup Roster

Ali Krieger joins Alex Morgan and Ashlyn Harris on the squad Jill Ellis will lead to France.

Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Three members of the Orlando Pride are headed to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France with the United States Women’s National Team. Jill Ellis named her 23-player World Cup squad today and Pride stars Alex Morgan, Ashlyn Harris, and Ali Krieger were all on the list.

Portland, North Carolina, and Chicago each have four players on the team, with the Utah Royals joining Orlando with three USWNT players apiece. Morgan and Krieger will take part in their third World Cup each, while it will be the second such event for Harris. Krieger has 13 previous World Cup caps, while Morgan has 12. Carli Lloyd leads the squad with 18 World Cup caps and will take part in the event for the fourth time in her career.

Morgan and Harris were considered locks to make the USWNT but Krieger, who just recently got her first call-up in two years, is a bit more surprising. Krieger made her 99th international appearance on April 7 in the USWNT’s 6-0 win over Belgium in a friendly match at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.

Of the three, Morgan is the most likely to play a large role for the U.S. in France. Having scored her 100th international goal in a 5-3 win over Australia on April 4 and now sitting on 101 career international goals, the Pride’s striker is the USWNT’s starter up top as well. She typically plays in a three-player attacking force with Megan Rapinoe to her left and Tobin Heath to her right. Harris will likely be the primary backup to Alyssa Naeher in goal, while Krieger will provide depth on the back line which has been leaky so far in 2019. Krieger will likely be the primary backup for Kelley O’Hara, who has been a bit injury prone of late.

The United States will compete in Group F, opening its World Cup run on June 11 against Thailand. The USWNT will face Chile on June 16 and Sweden — expected to be the most difficult opponent in the group — on June 20. The top two teams out of each group and the four best third-placed teams will advance to the round of 16.

Morgan, Harris, and Krieger are far from the only Pride players expected to compete at the 2019 World Cup. The club could be down as many as nine players from the roster in total. Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond are expected to be on Australia’s roster, Shelina Zadorsky will likely represent Canada, and Marta will almost certainly be on Brazil’s squad. In addition, Camila (Brazil) and Chioma Ubogagu (England) could also be selected to compete on the world’s biggest stage.

If all the above get the call, the Pride would be left with 15 players on the roster — not counting Sydney Leroux (pregnancy). That includes two rookies selected in the last two rounds of the 2019 NWSL College Draft; an additional rookie signed as a supplemental player just before the season (Caitlin Farrell); two of last year’s Pride national team replacement players and one player (Joanna Boyles) who was a national team replacement player with Chicago last year; and defender Morgan Reid, who was acquired from North Carolina and has yet to make an NWSL appearance.

This will be a tremendous challenge to Marc Skinner’s squad, as it will be stretched thin enough to where it may be unable to fill a full bench. The team could still add national team replacement players and Skinner is expected to add some players once the European season is over. The end of that season is coming up in mid-May, with the 2019 UEFA Women’s Champions League final coming up on May 18.

Allowing time for international paperwork to go through, the Pride could conceivably have some reinforcements before the end of the month, but for now there are a lot of unknowns as to what Skinner’s team will look like when the May 11 match against the Portland Thorns rolls around as national teams will be opening their pre-World Cup camps soon.

USWNT World Cup Roster (Club)

Goalkeepers (3): Adrianna Franch* (Portland Thorns FC), Ashlyn Harris** (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher** (Chicago Red Stars).

Defenders (7): Abby Dahlkemper* (North Carolina Courage), Tierna Davidson* (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn* (North Carolina Courage), Ali Krieger*** (Orlando Pride), Kelley O’Hara*** (Utah Royals FC), Becky Sauerbrunn*** (Utah Royals FC), Emily Sonnett* (Portland Thorns FC).

Midfielders (6): Morgan Brian** (Chicago Red Stars), Julie Ertz** (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan* (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle* (Washington Spirit), Allie Long* (Reign FC), Samantha Mewis* (North Carolina Courage).

Forwards (7): Tobin Heath*** (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd**** (Sky Blue FC), Jessica McDonald* (North Carolina Courage), Alex Morgan*** (Orlando Pride), Christen Press** (Utah Royals FC), Mallory Pugh* (Washington Spirit), Megan Rapinoe*** (Reign FC).

* First Women’s World Cup
** Second Women’s World Cup
*** Third Women’s World Cup
**** Fourth Women’s World Cup