The U.S. women's national team continues fine-tuning before World Cup qualifying begins in October.

By Avi Creditor
August 22, 2018

The U.S. women's national team has two more matches before World Cup qualifying begins, and coach Jill Ellis is able to welcome back some familiar faces into the fold before the results really start to count.

Mallory Pugh and Kelley O'Hara have returned from long-term injury absences to join a 23-player squad that will face Chile in a pair of upcoming games in California. The first of the two takes place Aug. 31 at the LA Galaxy's StubHub Center, while the second is Sept. 4 at the San Jose Earthquakes' Avaya Stadium. Both Pugh and O'Hara last played for the U.S. in the spring and missed the Tournament of Nations.

They're joined by a veteran cast that includes Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Julie Ertz, Christen Press and Tobin Heath in addition to college standouts Tierna Davidson (Stanford) and Hailie Mace (UCLA). 

Midfielder Allie Long is unavailable with a knee injury suffered while playing for the Seattle Reign.

World Cup qualifying begins October 4 and will be held in Texas and North Carolina, with three teams automatically qualifying for the 2019 Women's World Cup in France and a fourth sent to a playoff vs. CONMEBOL's third-place finisher.

Here is the U.S. squad in full, from which 18 will be selected for each match:

GOALKEEPERS: Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

DEFENDERS: Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage), Tierna Davidson (Stanford), Hailie Mace (UCLA), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)

MIDFIELDERS: Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage), McCall Zerboni (NC Courage)

FORWARDS: Crystal Dunn (NC Courage), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Utah Royals), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)

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