January 26, 2016
MAKING THE TEAM
O'Hara, Dunn on USWNT Olympic qualifying roster
CHICAGO - Sky Blue FC defender Kelley O'Hara and Rockville Centre, N.Y. native and forward Crystal Dunn of the Washington Spirit Tuesday were named to the 20-player U.S. roster that will compete at the CONCACAF women's Olympic qualifying Championship in Texas next month.
|Sky Blue defender Kelley O'Hara was among 20 players named to the U.S. team for the CONCACAF women's Olympic qualifying championship next month.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The players selected were a part of the USA's 26-player roster for January training camp that ended with a 5-0 win over Ireland in San Diego Saturday. The roster features three goalkeepers (a requirement by tournament regulations) and 17 field players, which includes seven defenders, five midfielders and five forwards (many players on the roster can play more than one position).
Veteran midfielder Heather O'Reilly was not included on the team.
Thirteen players chosen by head coach Jill Ellis were on the USA's 2015 Women's World Cup championship team and only seven were on the roster for 2012 Olympic qualifying: goalkeeper Hope Solo, defenders Becky Sauerbrunn, O'Hara and Ali Krieger, midfielders Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath and forward Alex Morgan. Solo, Heath and Lloyd are the only players on the roster who also participated in qualifying for the 2008 Olympics.
"This was an exceptionally challenging roster to select," Ellis said in a statement. "The players all worked and competed very hard in the January camp and that made the final decisions extremely difficult. With only 17 field players allowed on the roster, and minimal time in between matches, I think we have one of the most versatile rosters ever for a qualifying tournament. Most of the field players are capable of playing at least two positions and as CONCACAF competitions generally present teams that will sit low and get numbers behind the ball, it is important to have players that can individually and collectively break teams down to create chances."
The Americans open the tournament against Costa Rica (8:30 p.m. ET) on Wednesday, Feb. 10.
The USA continues first-round action against Mexico on Saturday, Feb. 13 (3 p.m. ET) and finishes group play against Puerto Rico on Monday, Feb. 15 (8:30 p.m. ET). Broadcast information for the tournament will be announced at a later date.
The two venues for the competition are BBVA Compass Stadium, home to the Houston Dash of the National Women's Soccer League and the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer, and Toyota Stadium, located in the Dallas suburb of Frisco and home to FC Dallas (MLS).
The round-robin stage of the tournament will be conducted with three doubleheaders in each group. Group A will play doubleheaders at Toyota Stadium on Feb. 10, 13 and 15 and Group B - which features Canada, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana - will play doubleheaders at BBVA Compass Stadium on Feb. 11, 14 and 16.
The semifinal matches will be held on Feb. 19 in Houston, with the winners qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. The championship game on Feb. 21 will also be in Houston.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (7): 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 (5): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash)
FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)