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USWNT World Cup roster revealed: The biggest surprises and snubs

The 23-player USWNT squad tasked with achieving an unprecedented World Cup three-peat was revealed by manager Vlatko Andonovski on Wednesday, and despite many obvious selections on the back of a qualifying cycle that grew pretty predictable, a late injury to captain Becky Sauerbrunn has shaken things up.

Andonovski has gone with three goalkeepers, seven defenders, seven midfielders and six forwards for the roster's makeup, including nine players who were part of the 2019 World Cup winning team.

You'll find the names below, followed by my thoughts on the two biggest surprise inclusions and two biggest snubs. 

2023 USWNT World Cup roster  

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

Defenders: Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns), Kelley O'Hara (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave), Alana Cook (OL Reign) 

Midfielders: Julie Ertz (Angel City), Lindsey Horan (Lyon), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit), Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville) 

Forwards: Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC) 

2 biggest surprise inclusions

Savannah DeMelo

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DeMelo is the first USWNT player since Shannon Boxx in 2003 to make a World Cup squad without having made her debut, but the 25-year-old midfielder makes the roster on the back of her incredible club form with Racing Louisville in the NWSL. DeMelo was named the league's Player of the Month for May and has scored five goals while creating two more in 11 appearances. 

Kelley O'Hara

With Crystal Dunn and Emily Sonnett both available at left back, the 34-year-old O'Hara likely won't see any playing time (she's also just returning from injury), but it's clear that Vlatko values the two-time World Cup winners wealth of experience. She's the team's Head Vibe Officer

2 biggest snubs

Tierna Davidson

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The 24-year-old returned from her ACL injury and made an appearance against Ireland on Apr. 11, but Vlatko — despite losing Sauerbrunn — clearly doesn't think Davidson (who was a starter during the Olympics) is back to her best yet. Davidson was the youngest player on the 2019 roster (starting one group stage match) but misses out entirely this time. 

Ashley Hatch

It was always a head-to-head battle between Hatch and Lynn Williams to effectively act as Alex Morgan's backup, and Vlatko always seemed to be leaning towards Williams' experience and versatility. Hatch has six goals and two assists in 12 games with the Spirit this season, while Williams has six goals and zero assists in 12 games with Gotham. However, Hatch has only scored three goals in her last 15 caps and that worked against her. 

Predicted USWNT starting XI vs. Vietnam on July 21

USWNT World Cup starting lineup 2023  

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