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Rose Lavelle will miss USWNT’s first SheBelieves Cup game due to injury in training

Casual U.S. soccer fans watching the USWNT in the SheBelieves Cup will likely have one big question. Why is Rose Lavelle not playing vs. Canada?

Lavelle will have to watch the USA’s first game of the tournament from the sideline. Head coach Vlatko Andonovski said on Wednesday that the star midfielder picked up a knock in training and will sit the first game out.

She could still play in the games against Japan and Brazil.

Lavelle was seen in practice with an ice pack on her left knee, however it’s unclear if it was for the knock she suffered.

Lavelle has been the brightest asset to a shaky USWNT midfield. When facing tougher opposition, the American midfield has looked unbalanced and struggled to keep up with possession.

During the friendlies against New Zealand in January Lavelle was a menace scoring two goals and grabbing an assist in one game. A look at the SheBelieves Cup roster indicates that Ashley Sanchez could fill Rose’s role vs. Canada.

The six midfielders Vlatko brought for the tournament are Lavelle, Lindsey Horan, Andi Sullivan, Sanchez, Kristie Mewis and Taylor Kornieck.

The Canada midfield won’t be at full strength either as veteran defensive midfielder Desiree Scott is recovering from an injury that required surgery.

Canada’s team also has major issues off the field as the national team continues its fight against the Canada Soccer Association. It looked for a little bit like Canada might boycott the SheBelieves Cup after Canada Soccer implemented budget cuts that have hurt the team. The players went on strike in response.

USWNT players have offered their support for their northern rivals, and it’s expected that there will be a moment of solidarity between the two teams before kickoff.

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