Andonovski: WC roster not close to being decided

U.S. women’s national team manager Vlatko Andonovski said he’s “positive” that he won’t have his 23-player World Cup roster decided after two upcoming games against Ireland.

The matches against Ireland — on Saturday in Austin, Texas, and again three days later in St. Louis — mark the final matches the U.S. will play before Andonovski selects his roster for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which starts July 20.

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“I’m positive that we’re not going to come out with the 23 in mind,” Andonovski told reporters on Friday. “And it’s going to be hard for us because we have players that we’re still looking at that are not in this camp right now.

“So the number is a little bit higher than [23]. But unfortunately, we don’t have any other camps. So decisions will be made in this camp. But also, some decisions will have to be made between this camp and the next [pre-World Cup] camp.”

To that end, Andonovski said he plans on taking a look at as many players as possible over the next two matches.

“We understand that this is our last opportunity to see certain players in certain positions,” he said. “I can’t say we’re going to see everyone on the field, but we will see most of them on the field at certain points in time in these two games.”

One player trying to make an impression is Julie Ertz, who is taking part in her first USWNT camp since the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Ertz is also currently without a club, which Andonovski emphasized has to change for her to make the final roster.

“Julie Ertz is looking good,” he said. “She’s good, she’s competing well, she’s fit, and we’re happy to have her back. Obviously, she’s going to need a little bit of time to get game fit, to get game ready.

“But that’s why we’re here. That’s why she’s getting in a club team soon, to get as ready as possible. And hopefully she performs well and earns her next call-up.”

The news sounded less promising for forward Catarina Macario, who is still making her way back from a torn ACL in her left knee she sustained playing for Lyon last June.

“First of all, we need to see performance, we have to see her on the field,” said Andonovski. “We haven’t seen her on the field for a year. Cat has to get in a professional environment, play professional games, competitive games, games that matter, so we’re able to see because we all know that Cat has potential to be one of the best players in the world.

“We have all seen that a year ago. But we don’t know how good she is right now. Nobody knows. And until we see that, and we’re given a chance to evaluate that we can’t make any decisions about her.”

Andonovski added that with so much on the line in terms of roster spots, the atmosphere in camp has been intense, but positive.

“The intensity is insane,” he said. “We had a chance to play a little bit yesterday, and the competitiveness, it’s a different level. But at the same time, it’s hard to sense any stress, and I think that these players are very good at turning the stress into excitement.

“They’re excited to be here. They’re excited to compete. They’re excited for the for the World Cup, and they actually create this fun, energetic and enthusiastic environment. But at the same time, it is ultra-competitive.”


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