Projecting the U.S. Women's Soccer Starting Lineup at World Cup 2015
We are still two years out from the Women's World Cup, but with another dominant year underway for the top-ranked Americans, it isn't too early to look at who they will potentially send to Canada.
Under the new head coach, Tom Sermanni, the USWNT has seen several new faces hit the pitch while the old guard continues to deliver stellar performances of their own. It will be interesting if he begins to make changes in the next 12 months.
At the World Cup, the USWNT will try to win their first crown since the famed 1999 championship match.
Lets project who will see the pitch in starting roles come the 2015 World Cup.
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Hope Solo is currently out with an injury, but when she returns, there is no one better on the USWNT roster.
Solo is simply the best keeper in the world, and that doesn't look like it will change before the World Cup.
Nicole Barnhart and Ashlyn Harris are the two keepers that could replace Solo should she take a step back, but their performances in recent matches only go to show how crucial Solo is between the posts. Both Barnhart and Harris are still better than most, but they aren't Solo.
Unless Solo gets injured again, or if Sermanni makes a huge mistake, Solo should be defending for the USWNT in 2015.
GK: Hope Solo
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The defense has looked much better in the past 12 months. Despite all their skill, prior to the Olympics it was a question mark heading in to all their matches.
The aggressive nature of the USWNT allowed teams to counter well. That hasn't always been the case in recent matches. They recover well and defend magnificently. The addition of Kelley O'Hara has been fantastic.
Christie Rampone has been a constant on the backline. She wears the captain's band and is still one of the best defenders on the roster. I don't think she starts for the squad come 2015. If there is one move Sermanni can make, it is replacing her with the likes of Becky Sauerbrunn.
Sauerbrunn has already started to see some starting time, and by the time 2015 rolls around, it will be apparent she should take her permanent spot on the backline. And with Ali Krieger back healthy, the USWNT defense is deep with talent. They can mix it up depending on the matchup.
D: Ali Krieger, Rachel Buehler, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O'Hara
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Tom Sermanni has his pick of talented players to choose from in the midfield. It is a treasure trove of talent. The USWNT can mix-and-match easily depending on their matchup and give opponents several different looks.
This is easily the most difficult position to project.
Who is sitting? Carli Lloyd? Shannon Boxx? Megan Rapinoe? Heather O'Reilly? Lauren Cheney?
One factor coming in to play is the emergence of Christian Press. If she continues playing as she has since starting her USWNT career, then she will find a starting spot in the midfield, and there is nothing to suggest she plans on slowing down.
Sermanni will likely play it safe in times of difficult matchups with familiar and proven names, and then substitute in fresh, young legs if and when needed. But the writing is on the wall that the new guard of USWNT players is on its way.
M: Christian Press, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe
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It says a lot about the USWNT forwards that Sydney Leroux will have to continue coming off the bench in 2015. She will not be replacing Alex Morgan, and Abby Wambach will probably retain her starting spot in at the World Cup.
Many forwards have been forced to take up other positions in order to find playing time, and that has only increased the offensive power behind the USWNT.
Morgan is the best in the world right now. Even with all of Marta's talents, Morgan has surpassed her in 2012 as the premier player in all of women's soccer. She is the new face of the game, and she will help lead the USWNT deep in the tournament.
If Sermanni wants a speedy attack the combination of Leroux and Morgan is deadly. Just don't expect it to be a constant. Wambach isn't done yet.
F: Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach