U.S. Women Prep For April Friendlies Vs. Colombia

United States Head Coach Jill Ellis
United States Head Coach Jill Ellis
United States Head Coach Jill Ellis

U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named 23 players to a training camp roster ahead of two matches against Colombia.

The U.S. will train in Orlando, Florida, for six days before heading to Connecticut for an April 6 match at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford (7 p.m. on FS1). The teams will meet again on April 10 at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania. (2 p.m. ET. on ESPN). Ellis will name 18 players to suit up for each match.

The USA and Colombia most recently met on June 22, 2015 in a Women’s World Cup Round of 16 clash with the USA winning 2-0 in Edmonton on goals from Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd.

As of March 22, more than 18,000 tickets have been sold for the match in East Hartford, approaching the WNT attendance record of 18,870 for the state of Connecticut, which was set on Oct. 23, 2012 in a 2-2 draw with Germany. The game in Chester, which is just 30 miles from the hometown of U.S. co-captain Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), is sold out.

The roster features 21 players who helped the USA win the 2016 SheBelieves Cup in early March, as four of the top five teams in the world squared off in three doubleheaders across three cities in the U.S. Ellis has added two players, recalling Portland Thorns midfielder Allie Long, who spent some time with the team in 2014, earning four caps, and giving a first senior team call-up to 17-year-old forward Ashley Sanchez, the current captain of the U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team.

Sanchez, who plays her club soccer with the So Cal Blues, recently helped lead the USA to a berth in the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup at the CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship in Grenada, scoring five goals over the five games as the USA defeated Canada, 5-0, in the semifinal to earn its World Cup berth and then downed Mexico, 2-1, in the championship game to win the regional title.

“We don’t have that many international matches before the Olympics, so every game takes on increased importance as far as the performance of the players, the evolution of the relationships among the positions and the overall growth of the team,” said Ellis. “Most of the players will be coming in from NWSL pre-seasons so we expect everyone to be sharp and we are looking forward to the challenges that a team like Colombia will present as we continue our Olympic preparations.”

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)

DEFENDERS (8): Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City)

FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado), Ashley Sanchez (So Cal Blues)