Discover the key players absent from the USWNT roster in the World Cup. Despite their absence, the reigning champions are determined to defend their title. Follow the team’s journey as they face challenges and strive for victory.
USWNT: Who’ll Be Absent?
With the World Cup on the horizon, the USWNT is gearing up to defend its title as the most successful team in women’s football history. In 2023 Women’s World Cup, USWNT will face Vietnam, Netherlands and Portugal in group E. Having emerged victorious in the previous two consecutive World Cups in 2015 and 2019, they are determined to make history again by securing a third straight championship. As the 2023 Women’s World Cup kicks off on July 20th in Australia, the current titleholders are the favorites to clinch the coveted trophy. Despite the anticipation surrounding the team and the expectation of a competitive roster, several talented players may fly under the radar during the championship.
As the head coach of the USWNT, Vlatko Andonovski faces high expectations in his first World Cup tournament. The team’s recent struggles against top European national groups such as England, Spain, and Germany, who defeated the American powerhouse in the latter months of 2022, highlight the growing strength of women’s soccer in Europe. These setbacks have put additional pressure on Andonovski to deliver success on the global stage.
Now the question arises: who are the players that failed to secure a spot on Andonovski’s 23-player World Cup roster? Let’s delve into the individuals left out of the picture.
The main-star: Catarina Macario
The football specialists’ predictions proved incorrect as they expected Catarina Macario, a Brazilian-born American citizen, to emerge as the newest leading star on the big stage. Nevertheless, U.S. coach Andonovski has described her as a world-class player. However, Macario has faced disappointment before. Specifically, at the Tokyo Olympic Games, the U.S. women’s national soccer team suffered a 1-0 defeat against Canada in the semifinals, ultimately impacting her chances of making the 23-player World Cup roster.
Unfortunately, a significant turn occurred when Catarina Macario took to Instagram this past May to announce that she would not be fit to represent the U.S. women’s national team in the upcoming World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
“While I’m excited and super optimistic about my future as a footballer, I’m sad to share that I won’t be physically ready for selection to our U.S. World Cup team. The desire to return to play for my club and country has driven my training and fueled my everyday life. However, what’s most important is my health and getting fit and ready for my next club season. I am eternally grateful to Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital for always supporting and guiding me in my rehab and U.S. Soccer and Vlatko Andonovski for prioritizing my long-term health over any individual and collective ambitions.” Maccario wrote.
The 23-year-old forward has been sidelined since suffering an ACL tear during a match for Olympique Lyonnais. Macario underwent months of intensive rehabilitation at Aspetar in Doha, Qatar. While there were hopes earlier in the year that she would be back in training with Lyon by March, it became evident that she would not be ready for the World Cup.
Despite her absence, Macario’s impact on the field has been noteworthy. During the 2021-22 season, while she was fit, she led Lyon with an impressive tally of 23 goals. Furthermore, she made history by becoming the first U.S. player to score in a UEFA Women’s Champions League final, contributing to Lyon’s 3-1 victory over Barcelona last year. With 17 caps and eight goals for the U.S. national team, she was also part of the 2020 Olympics squad.
The absence of Macario from the USWNT roster is undoubtedly a significant blow. Her talent, skill, and potential made her a highly anticipated player for the World Cup. However, her injury and subsequent rehabilitation prevented her from being physically prepared for the tournament. Nonetheless, the USWNT must adapt and find alternative strategies to compensate for her absence.
Other Notable Absences
In addition to Catarina Macario’s unfortunate absence, the USWNT has other significant players who will not participate in the tournament. Mallory Swanson, known for her reliable goal-scoring ability, has also fallen victim to injury issues, ending her World Cup hopes. Her absence is a significant blow to the team, as she performed exceptionally well at the start of 2023.
There are a few long-standing absentees from the roster. Defender Abby Dahlkemper underwent surgery in November, and there is no timeline for her return to the pitch. The team will miss her defensive prowess and experience. Tobin Heath, who endured a series of injuries during Arsenal, underwent knee surgery in September. The exact date of her comeback is still being determined, leaving a void in the team’s attacking options.
Christen Press, who suffered an ACL injury in June 2022, continues to be sidelined. She has endured a challenging road to recovery, undergoing three surgeries and facing a lengthy rehabilitation process. Press’s absence is a significant loss for the team, as she is known for her goal-scoring ability and versatility on the field.
Midfielder Sam Mewis is another player absent from the World Cup. Mewis has been dealing with a knee problem that required a second surgery in January 2023. Her absence leaves a gap in the team’s midfield, as she brings valuable skills and experience to the field.
These absences pose a considerable challenge for the USWNT, as they lose key players who have contributed significantly to the team’s success in the past. The depth and talent of the team will be tested as they strive to defend their World Cup title. Coach Vlatko Andonovski will need to adjust his strategy and make the most of the available players to ensure a competitive performance.
Despite these setbacks, the USWNT remains a formidable force in women’s football. The team has a history of resilience and adaptability, and they have proven their ability to perform even in the absence of key players. The remaining squad members will need to step up and fill the gaps left by the injured players, and new stars may emerge to make their mark on the tournament.
So what does this mean for the U.S. at the World Cup? Not too much. The squad has learned to play without those stars for the past year. Even though they were significant for the team in recent years, Andonovski’s plan should stay the same. Plus, if there’s an area where the USWNT is stacked, it’s in the attack.
The USWNT faces the challenge of defending their World Cup title without some key players. However, their proven ability to adapt and their impressive attacking strength provide reasons for optimism. As the tournament unfolds, the world will watch to see if the USWNT can overcome these obstacles and make history again.