The 2019 Women’s World Cup is set to begin in France on 7 June as the United States begin the defence of their world championship.
Due to a lack of defensive depth, this squad will need plenty of goals if they are to take home the trophy for the fourth time. In past tournaments, the USWNT has been anchored by their defence but this won’t be the case in France. The attacking players will need to step up in a big way or the number 1 ranked country in the world won’t make it very far this summer.
Here are the attacking players Jill Ellis may bring with her to France and the women who are on the fringes of the squad.
Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC) – One of the captains of the USWNT for the past several years, Rapinoe may be more important for the team in this tournament than she has ever been in the past. The 33-year-old is one of the best passers in the world and is always looking to get her teammates involved. Her leadership will be critical if the US are to repeat at the World Cup.
Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns) – Tobin Heath possesses a combination of skill and creativity that cannot be matched by anyone in the men’s or women’s national team picture. The United States will go as far as Heath takes them in the competition and this is her time to become a superstar on the global stage.
Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit) – 20-year-old Mallory Pugh has already amassed 50 caps and 15 goals since her debut as a teenage phenom in 2016. Pugh already has big game experience after featuring in the 2016 Olympics and will bring a full complement of skills to the World Cup in the summer.
Christen Press (Utah Royals) – Press is a veteran in the USWNT squad and has flourished since moving to a wider position in recent years. Naturally a striker, Press wasn’t getting many minutes behind Alex Morgan and her natural pace helped her transition to a winger under Ellis. Press is a versatile player and can play on either side of the pitch, making her a valuable asset to the squad.
Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) – The most recognisable face for the USWNT is Alex Morgan, and for good reason. The 29-year-old striker has scored 101 goals in 160 appearances for the national team and will be looking to add to her tally on the world’s biggest stage. Morgan can score beautifully crafted goals as well as finish the scrappy opportunities in the box, making her the most vital attacking player for the United States.
Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC) – Lloyd has recently shown her transition from the midfield to a more attacking player has been a success, following her two goals against Belgium. Although the 36-year-old will not be the focal point of the team like we saw in 2015, Lloyd still has a lot to give and no opposition will want to see her come on as a late substitute for the Americans.
Jessica McDonald (NC Courage) – McDonald is a stretch to make the squad but if the 31-year-old makes it, it will be a fantastic story. Through years of hard work, McDonald provides a solid goal-scoring record and would almost certainly be in the squad if it weren’t for the team’s lack of depth at outside back.