By 90Min
April 14, 2019

The 2019 Women's World Cup is set to begin in France on 7 June when the hosts take on South Korea at the Parc des Princes.

The United States are the current defending World Champions after defeating Japan in the 2015 final 5-2, courtesy of a Carli Lloyd hat-trick. As always, the previous winners will have a target on their back heading into this year's competition and US manager Jill Ellis will have a tough task ahead of the tournament deciding who will travel with the squad to France. 

Here are the potential goalkeepers and defenders Ellis may choose to bring with her to the World Cup and the women who are on the cusp of making the squad. 



Goalkeepers

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Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars) - The 30-year-old goalkeeper is figured to be the first-choice shot-stopper for Ellis in the World Cup. Naeher will be taking over the spot from Hope Solo, who has been the starter in every major competition for the US since 2007. 


Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride) - The presumed backup to Naeher is Ashlyn Harris, a veteran of the USWNT who has had very little opportunities as a starter for the squad. After winning three National Championships with UNC between 2006-2009, Harris only has 21 appearances with the national team. 


Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns) - The final goalkeeper spot for the squad will come down to Franch and Campbell. Franch has much more professional experience and is the two-time defending NWSL goalkeeper of the year, putting her ahead of 24-year-old Campbell.


Jane Campbell (Houston Dash) - Campbell is currently on the outside looking in, with her slim chances of making the squad coming down to an injury or dramatic turn in form from the previous three keepers on the list. 



Centre-Backs

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Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals) - A captain on and off the pitch for the Lady Yanks, Sauerbrunn will be one of the first names on Ellis' team-sheet. The 33-year-old defender is one of the main leaders for the squad and her on-field leadership and off-field wisdom will be invaluable for the team in France. 


Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars) - Despite being a rookie in the NSWL, Davidson has already earned herself 19 caps for the national team. Davidson is a fantastic one-on-one defender and will be fighting for the second starting spot with Abby Dahlkemper. 


Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage) - Dahlkemper is a former NWSL Defender of the Year and most supporters' first-choice to play next to Sauerbrunn in the centre of the defence. The 25-year-old is a better passer of the ball than Davidson, but her defensive positioning can be suspect at times.


Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns) - Sonnett is a versatile player that can be effective in the middle or on the outside of a back-four. The former first overall pick in 2016 will prove to be a solid backup to the three more established defenders already in the squad. 



Wing-Backs

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Crystal Dunn (NC Courage) - Dunn will be the starting left-back for the USWNT in the World Cup, despite her natural role being further up the pitch. The 26-year-old from New Hyde Park, NY is one of the most reliable players at Ellis' disposal and will certainly be on the plane to France.


Kelly O'Hara (Utah Royals) - The unquestioned starting right-back for the squad is Kelly O'Hara if she is, in fact, healthy when the tournament comes around. O'Hara has been battling an ankle injury for a while now but is on track to be healthy when the World Cup starts in June.


Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars) - Short is arguably the most natural left-back for the US heading into the world championships. Despite her skill, Ellis has not played the 28-year-old since October and many people are questioning the exact reason for her absence. Short is not a certain lock for the squad but she has proved to be a worthy player in the past. 


Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride) - Krieger was recently brought back into the squad for the first time since 2017 and until then was not expected to make the trip to France. With the US struggling to find capable outside-defenders, Krieger may just sneak her way into the squad at the last second. 

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