The United States Women's National Team is gearing up for another FIFA Women's World Cup. Training has been intense in anticipation for Tuesday's match against Thailand.
The USWNT have a relatively easy group at the World Cup. Last time the United States faced off against Thailand, they secured a massive 9-0 victory in Columbus, Ohio. Meanwhile, they also have Chile in their group. Back in August 2018, Chile and the United States met for the first time in their international history, with the United States claiming two clean-sheet victories.
However, the United States also has Sweden in their group, and the two sides have quite the history, with the Swedes knocking out the U.S. at the quarter-final stage of the 2016 Olympics.
Despite the mixture of heavy and light competition, the United States needs players that can step up and prove themselves on the world's biggest stage. There are 11 players on the roster that haven't been to the World Cup before, and here are three that can boost their status around the world in France this summer.
She's been the starting goalkeeper for a while, so why is Alyssa Naeher on this list? Except for a handful of matches between Canada, Australia, England and France, Naeher hasn't been tested too much.
Naeher over the national team starting spot from Hope Solo after the veteran goalkeeper was dismissed from the program. Naeher is now starting in the World Cup, after sitting behind Solo in 2015, and you can be sure that she'll be looking to make a name for herself.
While nobody is going to forget Solo, it's time for the talk to end. The only way Solo's name will not come up in every USWNT conversation is if Naeher can have a strong tournament in goal. She'll do well against Thailand and Chile, presumably, but she'll meet her match with Sweden and in the knockout rounds, should the USA advance.
Naeher is an older goalkeeper, too, at age 31. She isn't going to be the USWNT's starting goalkeeper of the future. However, she's the best option they have right now.
When Lavelle is healthy, she's a great soccer player. However, when she's injured or rushes back from an injury too soon and isn't 100 percent healthy, she's not good.
Lavelle has been a mixture of both in her last two NWSL seasons. Now, she's fully fit and can really become a lethal weapon on offense for Jill Ellis' squad. Lavelle scored the lone game-winning goal against Sweden back in 2017, so the Swedes will remember her well. Lavelle has found a great partnership in the midfield with Lindsey Horan. If they both can stay healthy and communicate well, defenses in France are going to be busy.
Lavelle is young and is one of the faces of the future for the United States, alongside Horan and the likes of Mallory Pugh. It's time for her to make the leap during the World Cup.
For the last few months, it's been clear that Abby Dahlkemper is going to be the starting centre back alongside Becky Sauerbrunn for the USWNT. Dahlkemper is fantastic with her club, the North Carolina Courage, but has faltered at times with the national team. However, she continues to start and make appearances, as Ellis believes in her and continues to add to her 40 international caps.
For the last few months it's been clear that Abby Dahlkemper is going to be the starting centerback alongside Becky Sauerbrunn. Dahlkemper is fantastic with her club, the North Carolina Courage, but has faltered at times with the national team. However, she continues to start and make appearances, as Ellis believes in her and adds to her 40 international caps.
If Dahlkemper wants to secure her starting spot with Tierna Davidson creeping up behind her, she needs to have a strong World Cup.