Football
Jeff Carlisle, U.S. soccer correspondent 72d

USWNT roster for England, Spain matches headlined by Crystal Dunn return, Alex Morgan absence

The return of Portland Thorns defender Crystal Dunn highlights the 24-player roster selected by United States women's national team manager Vlatko Andonovski for matches against England and Spain, though a knee injury has prevented San Diego Wave forward Alex Morgan from taking part.

The U.S. will play the Lionesses on Oct. 7 at London's Wembley Stadium, followed by the Spain match four days later at the El Sadar Stadium in Pamplona. Andonovski will name 23 players to suit up for each of the matches.

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A crowd in excess of 80,000 is expected to attend the match with England, which would be the largest ever to watch the U.S. in a friendly. It would also be the second-largest ever to watch the USWNT in any match behind only the 90,185 fans who filled the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, for the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup Final.

"These are big tests for our team in front of crowds cheering against us and after long travel, but our players absolutely love games like these," Andonovski said.

"The group we are bringing to Europe includes players who have a lot of experience against top European teams and some that don't, so these games are even more critical for our growth as our team. Our whole squad needs to get a clear picture of what these games are like as we continue to prepare for the World Cup."

The call-up for Dunn is her first since giving birth to her son last May, though she did take part in a training camp last September as a non-roster participant. She has since played in three matches for the Thorns, all as a substitute.

The roster also includes 17-year-old forward Alyssa Thompson, who played for the U.S. at the 2022 FIFA U-20 World Cup in which she had a goal and an assist.

The high school senior plays for the U17 Total Futbol Academy boys' team in MLS NEXT. She is the youngest player to be called up for the full national team since 16-year-old Sophia Smith was part of an April 2017 roster for the training camp prior to matches against Russia in Texas.

"We're very excited about [Thompson's] potential and qualities and looking forward to see how she's going to turn out in our environment," Andonovski told media during a virtual availability.

"Alyssa's a very creative player with a very good understanding of the game. We think that she has the ability to play as a winger, seven or 11. But not a classic winger, just on the side.

"She does have a very good understanding of how to come in the next channel, in the inside channel and expose teams in those areas. So I have no doubt that she'll fit in well in our system, and will understand and has an understanding how to connect with the players around her."

The roster features USWNT mainstays Becky Sauerbrunn of the Thorns, Olympique Lyon midfielder Lindsey Horan, OL Reign midfielder Rose Lavelle and OL Reign forward Megan Rapinoe.

"That is a very young group. And players like [Rapinoe] and [Sauerbrunn] and then [Ravelle], they've been in environments like this," Andonovski added.

"They know what it takes to win big games and play in environments like this and be successful. But then we have the next generation, the younger ones that have to experience this, which I believe is going to be the closest that we can get to play in the actual World Cup game.

"So overall, I'm very excited for this opportunity for the team. I'm very excited for the young players, for the group of young players. And I'm looking forward to it."

Racing Louisville midfielder Savannah DeMelo is the other uncapped player on the roster.

USWNT roster for October friendlies vs. England, Spain

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

Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), 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: Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC), Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC), 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: Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Alyssa Thompson (Total Futbol Academy)

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