Don’t overlooks Adrianna Franch in USWNT roster discussion — Must-click woso links — Vlatko speaks

The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, September 5, 2022

Happy Soccer Monday! Jeff Kassouf wrote a good piece for ESPN on whether players including Mia Fishel, Christen Press and Tobin Heath have a shot at making the World Cup roster (link below). I’d add one more name to the list for the discussion: Adrianna Franch.

AD was pressed into duty at the Tokyo Olympics and, well, we all know what happened. But she’s having a strong season for the Current, currently in third place in the standings and seemingly playoff bound. So there’s a question about whether Franch has fallen out of favor with the team, when just a little more of a year ago she appeared to be the clear backup.

Asked (by The Athletic’s Steph Yang) about AD recently, Andonovski said:

“She doesn’t have to do anything more to be back in the pool because she is in the pool. AD Franch is one of the goalkeepers that we believe has the quality to be in our pool. It’s little details, little things that get you from the pool to get a call-up. She’s doing very good but we also cannot neglect some of the things that some of the goalkeepers are doing. I thought that Phallon Tullis-Joyce had an incredible start to the season, Bella Bixby is doing well, we see Katie Lund doing an amazing job. The goalkeeper pool for the national team is big and the competition is stiff, every single one of them gets evaluated and out goalkeeper coach has a very tough job and makes that decision.”

We all remember when the sky was falling because the USWNT headed into the 2019 World Cup without Hope Solo. But Alyssa Naeher was more than competent — and she handled all the questions about her abilities and taking over for Solo with grace. It’s a cliche, but Naeher really did let her performance on the field do her talking.


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Now there are several national-team worthy goalkeepers in the pipeline. Are they qualified enough to make the World Cup roster? That’s debatable. But it’s good for both the USWNT and the NWSL that there’s a deep pool of talented keepers out there.

AD is one of those strong goalkeepers. My hope is that she is not being left behind.

As for Fishel, Press and Heath, Andonovski’s recent public comments indicate the current players are the direction he’s heading for the 2023 World Cup. Granted though, Heath isn’t at full strength and Press is injured.

Catarina Macario, Crystal Dunn and Sam Mewis should be locks to make the WC roster if healthy. I asked Andonovski about their progress, below! Lynn Williams will not doubt push for a spot when she gets back. And Tierna Davidson. Julie Ertz is also in mix once she returns from maternity.

The U.S. has an abundance of riches. Now it’s a matter of finding the right mix, and the right chemistry.


LINKS!

ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle with a story on Paulson’s discussion with Malik on Riley.

Ryan Clark also wrote about the investigation for the Oregonian.

Wave to break league attendance record at Snapdragon.

I wrote about the Wave’s success as an expansion team.

The Athletic’s Steph Yang writes about rebuilding Gotham.

Jeff Kassouf asks whether there’s room for Mia Fishel and Tobin Heath on the USWNT

Montoya named interim Spirit coach.

Nice story here from the great Gwendolyn Oxenham on why Heather O’Reilly came out of retirement.

The Guardian assesses Vlatko Andonovski’s performance.

Jessa Braun from Just Women’s Sports with a nice feature on Mallory Pugh.

Karen Carney to undertake a review of women’s soccer for the UK government.

England secures its spot in the Word Cup.

Canada downs Australia 1-0 in Brisbane. They meet again Tuesday in Sydney.

Loved this story from Jonathan Tannenwald on Crystal Dunn.

Tannenwald also wrote about Sophia Smith heading into tomorrow night’s game.

Mexico’s women’s national team is close to naming a new head coach, from the Athletic.

Steven Goff from the Washington Post had a nice story today on Mallory Pugh.

Blair Newman with a data-driven story on the landscape in Europe for The Equalizer.


Five at The IX: Vlatko Andonovski

Question: How has the defensive midfield role evolved given the differences in player type that you have these days with Andy or with Sam and camp now, versus the way that Julie Ertz played it when you were first hired to the national team.

Andonvoski: It wasn’t a question that the role needs to evolve. And that’s not because of just my preferences or the team’s the team’s needs. It’s actually how the game has trended and how the role of the 6 in the modern game has evolved. I think those days when you have a only defending oriented 6 or an attacking oriented six, I think that now the 6 has to be able to play on both sides of the game has to be the person that knows how to win tackles, win individual battles, aerial challenges, screen forwards, balance the team, but also has to know how to bring the rest of the team or the attacking 5 into the game by connecting the lines. So with that being said, I’m happy with the mindset of our players and also how they’ve taken that role in their club teams or their markets and how they’re evolving as the trend as the 6 is evolving.

Question: Wanted to check in with you about your evaluations of Alana Cook and Naomi Girma, and what you’re seeing there — especially how you want them specifically playing in left or right centerback positions and how you think that affects how you can set up play out of the back between the two of them.

Andonovski: Yes, very happy with where both are at in terms of their development progress on the team. Alana is I would say just slightly ahead and the reason why is because she started on the national team where we brought her in a little bit sooner than Naomi. But I think that Nomi has been taking big strides. One thing that I like about them, they’re very brave, not just off the ball but on the ball. To answer your question, they take just just the right amount of risk where they’re not jeopardizing our defense, or o not cause any dangerous attacks for the for the opponent. I think that both of them are very smart and very calculated defenders and know exactly how far they can go in terms of the risk taking and how brave they need to be. They’re both making very good decision. Like I said, very happy with both of them. And there’s a good chance we’re gonna see him on the field tomorrow.

Question: On some of the players that are not there because of injury, I wanted to possibly get updates on how Catarina Macario, and also Sam Mewis and Crystal Dunn.

Anondovski: I will start with Crystal, the last one, because she is actually here. She has been training very well. And when I say very well, I mean I think she she’s ready to play. In my mind she’s ready to play. We don’t know exactly how many minutes but I would not be surprised if we’re on the field anytime soon. Obviously that will be something that Portland Thorns will have to evaluate and see if she is going to get any minutes or not. But she looks great. She trains very well every day and she’s as as ready, as fit, as intense as she’s as enthusiastic is always an energetic just love having crystal back in camp and looking forward to to see her in one of the next camps. Now with with Sam, we had a chance to see Sam in Kansas City. We were at her facility she was hosting us at the KC current facility. She’s doing great going through recovery period. Obviously, her recovery is taking a little bit longer than we expected, but as of right now we’ll just let Sam take her time getting healthy, and then we’ll talk about getting fit and ready to play. On the other side, Cat, she’s in line with her timeline. And pretty soon Cat is gonna go to a special place, I think it’s in Qatar, for five weeks where she’s gonna go through some new recovery or physical therapy treatments, and hopefully coming out of that she will be closer to getting back on the field and that will hopefully expedite her recovery period.

Question: Inaudible, but believe it was on whether Nigeria can break the home unbeaten streak.

Andonovski: I’m sure everyone that comes to play us goes through the mindset that they’re going to be successful. But at the same time on this side, we go with the same mindset. Honestly, we don’t even look at the streak and I don’t even know what the strike is. For us, it’s an important game in the process of preparation for the World Cup and that’s the only way we’re taking it. We’re focused on the process and we believe that if we get the process right that the outcome is going to be favorable for us.


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By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
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By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
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Written by Annie Peterson