Breaking news: Christen Press tore her ACL — Vlatko talks latest USWNT roster — Must-click woso links

The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, Monday, June 13, 2022

A bit of breaking and sad news: Christen Press has a torn ACL. Certainly a personal blow, and a blow to Angel City. Man, injuries suck. Wishing her the best.

The news of her injury makes a bit of the debate over her USWNT status moot, but earlier this morning U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski named his roster for next month’s CONCACAF W Championship, which serves as qualifying for the 2023 World Cup.

The news: Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan are back. Press and Tobin Heath aren’t.

Morgan was clearly happy.

Andonovski addressed the roster during a conference call with reporters this morning. He said he included Rapinoe for two reasons: She’s a leader and a proven commodity on the field.

He said Press wasn’t going to be included on the roster even before she was injured this weekend while playing for Angel City. Although Press has been performing well, there are other players currently in front of her. See Andonovski’s full comments below.

“It’s not easy to be a forward in the United States right now.” — Andonovski

(Side note: At the time of his press conference, Andonovski had no update on Press’ injury. And it is unclear if Heath’s hamstring is still an issue.)

He went on to praise Sophia Smith and Mallory Pugh as two of the most exciting players in the NWSL.

And tip of the hat to Taylor Kornieck, who Jeff Kassouf wrote about for The Equalizer.

Here is the list, from U.S. Soccer. They seem to be embracing the “Gals” thing.

I like that Midge Purce made the cut. And Trinity Rodman. Andonovski is right about the forward position being tough, but I like what Purce brings. I think Rodman is still finding her way in the national team environment, so the tournament experience will be good.

And in case you missed it, wonderful news here:


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LINKS

WaPo’s take on the roster.

ESPN’s story on the roster.

The Athletic’s story on the roster.

Jenna Tonelli with an excellent piece on the importance of Pride Nights in the NWSL.

The Equalizer has a handy transfer tracker!

Olivia Moultrie! Youngest goal scorer in the NWSL!

Seth Vertelney for USA Today on Moultrie.

ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle writes about the Kansas City Current’s new training facility.

Amanda Cromwell suspended from Pride amid investigation.

USA Today’s Christine Brennan spoke to Briana Scurry.

How the loss of Cat Macario impacts the USWNT, from the Insider’s Meredith Cash.

Paige Nielsen is back for Angel City.

Nice story from Jeff Kassouf for ESPN on Rose Lavelle.

The wonderful Nancy Armour on the labor gains in the NWSL and WNBA.

The CBC weighs in on the Canadian women and the fight for equal pay.

Fun Q & A with Emma Hayes.

Clare Brennan for Just Women’s Sports on the USWNT’s youth movement on D.

I wrote about the ICC returning to Portland in August.

Frankie de la Cretaz with a column for the Washington Post on intra-league romances and representation.

Andonovski talks about the roster

Special Thanks goes to Jonathan Tannenwald of the Philadelphia Inquirer for sending me the audio because I was at a doctor’s appointment this morning when Andonovski spoke.

Question: I want to ask you about the decision to bring Megan after her layoff and her limited minutes in NWSL. When what went into that, that final decision?

Andonovski: Megan and I had a great conversation after the season last year, and she understood the process that we were going to go through and this team will take and first I have to say that she had tremendous Olympics helped us win a medal in Africa she had to finish the season off very well as well. So in within in with that conversation, she understood that we are going to bring a lot of players, we are going to test a lot of players, we wanted to give the young players lots of minutes and opportunities to play and give us a chance to evaluate them as much as possible. But after everything is said and done that if she’s healthy and if she’s fit to get minutes, that she will be on the roster because once we once we know that one is we know what Megan is capable of doing or is able to do. We saw that even in the in the some ministers regarding the last game, how dangerous she can be.

But also the thing with Megan is that she is very important for this group. This is a younger group that we’re bringing in, there are lots of young player, so her experience and going through adversity going through tough times and getting on top, her winning mentality, her knowledge and understanding, is very valuable for the group. But even more so for players like players like Mal (Pugh) and Soph (Smith) and Trinity (Rodman), who are forwards who are playing the same position with Megan, I think that she’s going to be instrumental to help them go through these games go through these qualifiers, because at some point, whether it’s within the game or in between the games, they’re gonna need Megan voice and her responsibility is to help them be the best version of themselves.

Question: I was hoping that you could maybe talk about how injuries have maybe shaped this roster but first I also wanted to ask, Christen Press obviously got hurt this weekend. I was wondering if you could speak to whether she was in the plans for W championship or not?

Andonovski: I have to say that Christen Press was not on the roster, even before the injury. We’re very sorry for her injury, and don’t have confirming information on the extent or the significance of the injury. We just hope that it is not too serious. Now, injuries have shaped this roster. Obviously Cat Macario was someone that we we certainly wanted to see on this roster. And we knew that she was going to be on the roster. I mean, after her form with Lyon and with the national team, it was no brainer that she was going to be an instrumental for us in this qualifying tournament. But I just want to say we’re sad and really how devastated we are for Cat’s injury, but in same time, knowing her drive and desire to get back and be the best version of herself, is what is going to be the base of her recovery, or quick recovery. Now, on top of that, there are injuries that happen along the way that that shaped the roster in different ways. I mean, there’s players like Sam Mewis and Abby Dahlkemper Both injured and were not able to be on the roster. Then we have pregnancy. First very happy for all of them, but in same time, those are players that will probably take spots on the roster as well like Crystal Dunn, Julie Ertz, Casey Kruger. So to summarize the injuries, pregnancies have shaped the roster in some way but at the same time, we were very happy with the with the players that we have, or the pool of players that we have that we can choose from, and able to put a good roster together.

Question: I’m just wondering if you could talk a little bit about the return of Alex Morgan. She’s in great form early in the season, but what are some other things you know, beyond her goal scoring that you’ve seen out of her?

Andonovski: First very proud of Alex and how she’s bounced back and become obviously one of the best goal scorers in the league, actually the best football player in the league at the moment in the form that she’s at. But the thing is with Alex is, I mean, she falls in a group with Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn, who are experienced players we’ve gone through some some tough times but some great times as well, who knows how to win and how to win under tough circumstances, how to go through adversity, and just like I said, in one of my previous answers, Alex’s experience is going to be instrumental for our success going forward. She’s instrumental for the team but also for certain players, or a group a group of players. I think that that’s one thing but another thing is, first and foremost, she’s gonna be instrumental because of because of her performance and form that she is in because we know that when she’s in the form and when she’s when she’s on, she can score goals. And that’s always welcome on the team.

Question: You’ve talked about this process of bringing in some players to see where they’re at and kind of bring them along to see if they’re ready for this moment, and then potentially bring back in some of the veterans which there are a couple that you just talked about. Wondering how you think that’s gone with that process?

Andonovski: I mean, next in the process, is the performance now, the actual game. We’re very happy with where the team is at. And I think it’s a great mix of, of youth and experience. And we’re excited to see now how everything’s gonna play out on the fields. I think that we have, we have a great group and we have players that will execute certain roles, or roles that they’re going to be asked to do. Very important, just to mention, is that even for these experienced players is not because they’re just experienced, they’re not on the team, because they’re just experienced, they’re on the team first and foremost, because they can perform, and their experiences is a bonus.

Question: What can Christen do to get back on the team?

Andonovski: Obviously, the first thing that she needs to do is get healthy as soon as possible. That’s the first thing, and we’re hoping that she will get healthy and ready to perform soon. But the thing with Christen is — first, she’s doing well and I think that she’s performing well. But it is not just her now at this point — it’s her competing with the players that are in front of her. I mean, for Christen to be back on the field, it’s not just to do well or perform well in her club environment, it’s also outperform the players that she’s competing against. And that would be players like Mallory Pugh and Soph Smith, and Alex Morgan, Ashley Hatch, Trinity Rodman. It’s not easy to be to a forward in the United States right now. Obviously, it’s great, but it’s not easy because the competition just gets bigger and bigger.

Written by Annie Peterson