Women's World Cup: US Womens Soccer Team | Final Squad, Preview, Predictions
The most successful side in the history of the FIFA Women's World Cup, the United States Women's National Team (USWNT) will once again start as favourites, when the tournament commences in France in June.
It has been an eventful year for the USWNT, as earlier this year, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) was sued by all then 28 members of the USWNT. US Soccer was sued for years of "institutionalised gender discrimination".
But they will look to put that all behind them now, and look to win their fourth World Cup title. The US have made four of the seven World Cup finals thus far, with their only loss on the big stage coming in a 3-1 penalty shootout loss to Japan at Frankfurt in 2011, after the teams were tied 2-2 at the end of regulation time and extra time.
They avenged that loss four years later in Vancouver, with skipper Carli Lloyd inspiring a 5-2 drubbing of the Japanese.
Placed in Group F for the tournament in France, alongside Thailand, Chile and Sweden, the USWNT should have smooth sailing into the Round of 16, but that's when the going could begin to get choppy.
Head Coach Jill Ellis is still struggling for the right combinations, and options in a few key areas, and that reflected in the USWNT's performance in the recently concluded SheBelieves Cup, that they hosted.
They only managed 2-2 draws in their first two games against Japan and England, before beating Brazil 1-0. They lost out to England, who smashed Japan 3-0 on the final matchday to win the title.
Goalkeepers: Alyssa Naeher, Ashlyn Harris, Adrianna Franch
Defenders: Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O'Hara, Abby Dahlkemper, Ali Krieger, Tierna Davidson, Emily Sonnett, Crystal Dunn
Midfielders: Sam Mewis, Morgan Brian, Julie Ertz, Lindsay Horan, Rose Lavelle, Allie Long
Forwards: Mallory Pugh, Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, Jessica McDonald, Christen Press
Alex Morgan: 160 caps, 101 goals You cannot really argue against that, can you? There are plenty of talented strikers in this USWNT squad, such as Megan Rapinoe and Mallory Pugh, but none of them can really match up to the impact that Morgan can provide. She is a game-changer, and one that Jill Ellis will no doubt be banking on hugely to deliver in France.
Lindsay Horan: She was the MVP in last season's National Women's Super League (NWSL), playing for the Portland Thorns. A superb box-to-box midfielder, she's got the engine to be making the difference at both ends of the field, but with the number of talented forward players already at the States' disposal, there might be a case to curtail Horan's role in midfield, and allow her to just sit in front of the defence and offer them protection.
Carli Lloyd: Like Morgan, Lloyd has got a reputation that scares. 271 international caps, 107 goals, and she's done it before on the biggest stage of them all. She was the hero of the 2015 final against Japan, when she scored a hat-trick, including a third goal to remember for a lifetime. She volleyed the ball into the Japanese net from the centre circle to complete a hat-trick in a World Cup final, how can you forget that? She's 36 and her powers may be on the decline, but there is absolutely no denying the role that experience plays in big tournaments, and Lloyd has that in swathes.
USWNT World Cup Fixtures
Tuesday, June 11: USA v Thailand
Sunday, June 16: USA vs Chile
Thursday, June 20: USA v Sweden