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Olympic Delay: Stanford on the USWNT - ColoradoTree - 03-26-2020

So, we previously hashed out that Tierna Davidson and Andi Sullivan had a good (but not certain) shot at joining Kelley O'Hara and Christen Press on the Olympic women's soccer team this summer, but that Sophia Smith was highly unlikely to have that chance, as Vlatko was presumably going to mostly stick with the same forward group as in the World Cup, perhaps just adding Lynn Williams and dropping two of Alex Morgan (due to pregnancy), Mallory Pugh (due to form), or Jessica McDonald (playing well, but lacking the same track record). 

Well, all that's changed. Here's an article going through some of the roster permutations that may happen as a result of the Olympics being pushed back a year:

https://sports.yahoo.com/how-does-the-olympics-coronavirus-postponement-impact-the-uswnt-165944681.html

And here are some other analyses of the same topic: 
https://www.starsandstripesfc.com/2020/3/24/21191399/implications-delayed-olympics-uswnt-roster
https://www.goal.com/en/news/changing-of-the-guard-how-uswnt-will-be-affected-by-postponement-/f9yu7r36qwvn185isi3g22772

Here are my own thoughts on it before I read these pieces:

Forwards:

* Morgan's pregnancy is now a non-factor. She'll be back in plenty of time to get into match fitness, and she'll be on the team.

* Carli Lloyd will be a year older. Does she stick around? Does the prospect of another full year change her calculus of when she wants to hang it up? Does the additional year rob her of a step and make her at best a part-time player?

* Health permitting, this doesn't affect Press or Heath. They're still locks. Rapinoe is getting up there, so I still think she'll be there, but she would have been one of those that I wouldn't have expected to be there at the 2023 World Cup anyway, so retirement after these Olympics seemed in the cards for her. But she's got another year in her. 

* Then we have the bubble players: Pugh, Williams, McDonald, Sophia Smith, and perhaps Carli Lloyd. So much will depend on this year's NWSL form (if and when the league gets going) and next year's early NWSL season. But this sure seems like bad news for McDonald. Williams had done enough to earn a spot this year, and assuming she continues that form, she'd still very much be in the mix. Does Pugh's form improve? Does she recapture what made her such a phenom in the first place? Does Smith take the league by storm? 

* Let's not forget that another year brings fresh possibilities of a different young player taking the NWSL by storm. Morgan Weaver? Ashley Sanchez? Smith currently leads that crop of rookies, but will that hold true after a season and a half or so of league play? 

* Remember that we're probably looking at 2 keepers, 6 defenders, 5 mids, and 5 forwards in a 18-person roster, so if Morgan, Press, and Heath are locks, that leaves two spots (unless we go light on mids and play a forward back as a wide mid) for the following group: Lloyd, Rapinoe, Williams, McDonald, Pugh, and Smith.  

Midfielders:

* Health permitting, Lavelle, Ertz, Horan, and Mewis are stone cold locks. That leaves one spot. It sure looked like the 5th spot would be our own Andi Sullivan, to the detriment of Allie Long and Morgan Brian, both with their own form issues. But what does a year do? 

* Sullivan goes into this NWSL season (whenever it happens) knowing that she was likely going to make the Olympic roster but is going to have to prove it on the field to keep it. Hopefully that fire pushes her to great things.

* In addition to Brian and Long wanting their jobs back, expect our own Jordan DiBiasi to fight for a spot. And keep an eye on rookie Ashley Sanchez (a MF/F who left UCLA early), FSU's Jaelin Howell (who might be a rookie next year), and UNC's Brianna Pinto as younger players who could grab that last spot. Right now, Sanchez is listed as a forward for the Washington Spirit, which is her long-term national team home (in 5 years, it's probably Pugh-Smith-Sanchez up top or something similar), but it inhibits her ability to make this team. 

Defenders:

* Davidson is now a lock, health permitting. Ali Krieger's spot was already tenuous, and it's hard to see how another year improves her standing, particularly since Davidson is the center back of the future. Davidson, Krieger, and Sonnett can all play both center back and outside back, so while Sauerbrunn is still a lock to start in the middle and O'Hara and Dunn are still locks on the outside, there might be a battle for a starting spot between Dahlkemper and Davidson, and both will make the team regardless.

* I think Krieger is done now. Not fully, and she'll get a proper sendoff once they're playing again, but if Sonnett and Davidson are both healthy and in good form, there's just no room for Krieger.

* Casey Short has long been in and out of making this team, so a dip in form from Sonnett or someone else could see her stock rise. 

Goalkeepers:

* So much will depend on NWSL form, but assuming Naeher is still at the top of the pecking order, then Harris is out. With only two keepers going to the Olympics, that spot will more likely go to Franch (or even our own Jane Campbell if she continues to play well in NWSL).

Summary:

The Olympic delay doesn't affect O'Hara or Press. Sullivan looked primed for grabbing the last spot in midfield, but Vlatko isn't tied to her, so another year could see her being left off, but if she plays well in NWSL, I don't see Brian or Long jumping her--it would be an even younger player that lights the league on fire. And this makes Davidson's path to the Olympic roster even smoother, I think. Jane Campbell had no chance to make the Olympic roster, but another year might give her the opportunity to go from 4th in the pecking order to 2nd, especially since this likely means the end of Ashlyn Harris's time. (Unless Naeher gets hurt, and when she gets hurt, in which case Harris might be seen as the next best option at that time, which could in turn let her cement her spot.)


RE: Olympic Delay: Stanford on the USWNT - PVTree - 03-26-2020

When will Catarina be eligible for the USWNT?


RE: Olympic Delay: Stanford on the USWNT - ColoradoTree - 03-27-2020

(03-26-2020, 09:26 PM)PVTree Wrote:  When will Catarina be eligible for the USWNT?

October 2022, I believe (the internet tells me she was born in October 1999). She can become a citizen this year, but she can't be on the national team until she turns 23. So, she'll miss out on this Olympics, even with the delay, but she should be on the 2023 World Cup team.

A dumb rule, since she's lived her for 9 years and has represented the US at a junior international level, and has turned down repeated overtures from the Brazilian national team. I have no doubt in my mind that she would be on the USWNT right this minute if she were eligible. I think she would've been on the World Cup team last year, too, over Long or Brian. She's just too good. 

Good for Stanford, since she has less of an incentive to leave early. But bad for her career. She could already have 50 caps under her belt and be on her way to all-time great status. She'll still impress once she's eligible, but you only get so many peak years in the spotlight, you know?


RE: Olympic Delay: Stanford on the USWNT - oldalum - 03-27-2020

(03-27-2020, 09:14 AM)ColoradoTree Wrote:  you only get so many peak years in the spotlight, you know?
When do mine start???