Hope Solo, the longtime No. 1 goalkeeper for the United States women's national team, is set for a return to action after fully recovering from wrist surgery, the Associated Press reports.
Tom Sermanni recalled 23 players for a pair of upcoming friendlies against South Korea. Solo is one of two big names returning to the squad after missing the Americans' victory over Canada. Midfielder Megan Rapinoe, who was completing club duty in France, is the other.
The head coach commented on the return of the missing pieces and expects his top-ranked team to get tested by the South Koreans.
''We'll bring back in a few familiar faces that weren't with us in Canada, but all of the players are performing at a high level and the competition within the team is excellent,'' Sermanni said. ''We're pleased that we can get in these high-quality games during the NWSL season and are looking forward to the challenge of playing the South Koreans, who are certainly one of the most improved teams over the past few years.''
Here's a look at the complete roster for the next two matches, scheduled for June 15 and 20.
|Hope Solo||Rachel Buehler||Yael Averbuch||Abby Wambach|
|Nicole Barnhart||Crystal Dunn||Morgan Brian||Alex Morgan|
|Jill Loyden||Whitney Engen||Lauren Cheney||Sydney Leroux|
|Meghan Klingenberg||Tobin Heath||Christen Press|
|Ali Krieger||Carli Lloyd|
|Kelley O'Hara||Kristie Mewis|
|Christie Rampone||Heather O'Reilly|
|Becky Sauerbrunn||Megan Rapinoe|
Solo underwent wrist surgery in early March to repair torn cartilage, and the initial timetable for her return was between three and four months. The first match against South Korea will take place just beyond the three-month mark.
The veteran keeper ranks fifth on the current squad in national team appearances with 135. She's behind only Christie Rampone, Abby Wambach, Heather O'Reilly and Carli Lloyd. Nicole Barnhart filled the void while she was out.
Her return will provide a boost to the American defense, which figures to get tested by an improved South Korean attack normally led by forward Park Hee-Young. Barnhart filled in admirably, but Solo is in a class by herself when in top form.
Getting Solo back now should help the Seattle Reign star get back in the swing of things before an even bigger test in September against Germany. The sides faced off during her absence, and the match ended in a 3-3 draw.
With Solo and Rapinoe back in the mix, the Americans should field pretty close to their complete first-team squad for the South Korea friendlies.
When that's the case, the world's best team is tough to beat.