U.S. Women's National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named 23 players to a training camp roster ahead of two matches against Colombia. The USA will train in Orlando, Florida, for six days before heading to Connecticut for an April 6 match at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford (7 p.m. on FS1). The teams will meet again on April 10 at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa. (2 p.m. ET. on ESPN). Ellis will name 18 players to suit up for each match.
The USA and Colombia most recently met on June 22, 2015 in a Women's World Cup Round of 16 clash with the USA winning 2-0 in Edmonton on goals from Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd.
More than 18,000 tickets have been sold for the match in East Hartford, approaching the WNT attendance record of 18,870 for the state of Connecticut, which was set on Oct. 23, 2012 in a 2-2 draw with Germany. Tickets are still available through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-877-522-8499 (8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET only) and at the XL Center ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.). [Note: Tickets are not sold at Pratt & Whitney Stadium except on the day of the event.]
The game in Chester, which is just 30 miles from the hometown of U.S. co-captain Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), is sold out.
The roster features 21 players who helped the USA win the 2016 SheBelieves Cup in early March, as four of the top five teams in the world squared off in three doubleheaders across three cities in the U.S. The USA defeated England (1-0), France (1-0) and Germany (2-1). Forward Alex Morgan scored against France and Germany to win the Golden Boot and was awarded the Golden Ball as the top player in the six-game competition. Hope Solo won the Golden Glove as the best goalkeeper. Forward Crystal Dunn scored the game-winner against England and midfielder Samantha Mewis scored the winning goal against Germany.
Ellis has added two players, recalling Portland Thorns midfielder Allie Long, who spent some time with the team in 2014, earning four caps, and giving a first senior team call-up to 17-year-old forward Ashley Sanchez, the current captain of the U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team. Sanchez, who plays her club soccer with the So Cal Blues, recently helped lead the USA to a berth in the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup at the CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship in Grenada, scoring five goals over the five games as the USA defeated Canada, 5-0, in the semifinal to earn its World Cup berth and then downed Mexico, 2-1, in the championship game to win the regional title.
"We don't have that many international matches before the Olympics, so every game takes on increased importance as far as the performance of the players, the evolution of the relationships among the positions and the overall growth of the team," said Ellis. "Most of the players will be coming in from NWSL pre-seasons so we expect everyone to be sharp and we are looking forward to the challenges that a team like Colombia will present as we continue our Olympic preparations."
U.S. Women's National Team Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (8): Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Heather O'Reilly (FC Kansas City)
FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado), Ashley Sanchez (So Cal Blues)
- The match in Chester will mark the fifth time the team has played at Talen Energy Stadium (formerly PPL Park, home of MLS's Philadelphia Union). The USA also played there in 2010, 2012 and twice in 2014 during the Women's World Cup Qualifying tournament.
- This will be the sixth trip to East Hartford for the U.S. Women who played at the former Rentschler Field in 2004, 2007, 2010, 2012 and most recently in June of 2014, a 2-2 tie with France.
- Colombia, ranked 25th in the world and second in South America behind Brazil, put in a fine performance at the World Cup last summer, drawing 1-1 with Mexico, defeating world power France 2-0, and then falling to eventual third-place finisher England by a 2-1 score to complete group play. The four points were enough to earn Colombia a Round of 16 match with the USA, where it put up quite a fight against the eventual world champions before bowing out.
- The USA won the 2016 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship, winning all five games by shutout while scoring 22 goals. The USA defeated Trinidad & Tobago 5-0 in the semifinal to earn its berth to the 2016 Olympics and then won the tournament title with a 2-0 victory against Canada.
- The USA and Colombia have played each other only three times, but the history is recent and rich, with all three games coming in world championship play. These will be the first friendly matches between the teams. The three previous meetings saw the USA defeat Colombia 3-0 in group play at the 2011 Women's World Cup, 3-0 in group play at the 2012 Olympics and 2-0 in the Round of 16 at the 2015 Women's World Cup.
- Hope Solo has 97 shutouts in her career and is three away from becoming the first U.S. goalkeeper to reach 100 shutouts.
- Ashley Sanchez, who turned 17 on March 16, is the first player born in 1999 - the year the USA won the Women's World Cup in the United States - to be called up to the full Women's National Team. In December of 2015, she also helped the U.S. U-20 Women's National Team qualify for the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, scoring three goals with five assists while playing alongside U.S. U-20 WNT captain and current senior team player Mallory Pugh. Sanchez scored the game-winner in the title game of the CONCACAF U-20 Women's Championship in Honduras (1-0 against Canada) and also scored in the title game of the recent CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship (2-1 against Mexico).
- 15 players on the U.S. roster were members of the 2015 Women's World Cup championship team.
- The USA is 9-0-0 in 2016, having scored 32 goals while allowing only one.
The field for the 12-team Olympic Women's Soccer Tournament is set and will feature Brazil and Colombia from South America, France, Germany and Sweden from Europe, the USA and Canada from CONCACAF, Zimbabwe and South Africa from Africa, Australia and China from Asia and New Zealand from Oceania.