Monday, February 6, 2023

USWNT roster: Savannah DeMelo replaces Trinity Rodman ahead of September friendlies against Nigeria

Savannah DeMelo will replace Trinity Rodman on the United States Women’s National Team roster for the upcoming September friendlies against Nigeria. Rodman will not attend the training camps due to a family commitment. DeMelo’s inclusion comes just after the news of Hallie Mace’s addition to the roster. Mace was selected to join the USWNT camp in place of Kelley O’Hara as O’Hara continues to navigate a lingering hip injury.

For Mace, the call up is as bit of a homecoming, and she plays with the Kansas City Current and the first match against Nigeria will taking place at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas. The the final match will be in Washington D.C at Audi Field. The Current are in third place in the National Women’s Soccer League, and on a 12 game undefeated stream as the regular season winds down.

DeMelo has spend the entirety of her rookie season with Racing Louisville FC in 2022 and her recent call up to the national team could be an opportunity for the 24-year-old to earn her first cap.

Is this another shake up before the World Cup?

It’s unlikely. While Mace is a perfect replacement for O’Hara both in position and regional proximity to these upcoming friendlies, she hasn’t been involved in national team camps since last cycle. She last spent time with the national team years ago during 2018, and has featured three times for the team, including a 90 minute match against Panama during the 2018 Concacaf W Championship. So her inclusion here is a nice story, but it’s mostly one of convenience.

Mace’s time with the Current has been split between different positions, but this year, she has mainly featured among midfielders for the team sometimes functioning as a marauding wing-back. She’s scored two goals and recorded two assists this season, and leads the team with 20 chances created. Her reintroduction back into the national team is among the defenders, and if she sees any time on the pitch under head coach Vlatko Andonovski it will likely be at outside back.

DeMelo, on the other hand is a more interesting case. She was drafted by Racing Louisville FC fourth overall in the NWSL 2022 Draft, and has been a mainstay in the starting lineup for Racing this season. She has featured in 17 regular season games, starting in each of them, and has quickly become a threat on set pieces for the team and is cementing her place as an integral piece for Louisville’s growing program.

Her inclusion on the USWNT roster isn’t exactly a like-for-like swap with Rodman, as the Washington Spirit star’s time on the national team has mainly been along the front line as a winger, and DeMelo’s rookie campaign has been put together as a midfielder who has the ability to take on a defensive role when necessary. She has scored three goals this season and recorded one assist, and leads the team in chances created (45).

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Here’s a look at the updated roster:

USWNT Roster for September friendlies 

GOALKEEPERS (3): Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

DEFENDERS (6): Alana Cook (OL Reign), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Hailie Mace (Kansas City Current); Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC) Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit) 

FORWARDS (6): Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC)

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