Stephanie McCaffrey has been named to the 20-player roster for CONCACAF Olympic qualifying, taking place February 10-21 in Frisco and Dallas, TX.
The full roster is as follows:
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)
FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)
Though listed as a forward, McCaffrey has been used recently in more of a midfield role, providing width and service while also drawing in defenders. If she can develop a rapport on the right with Krieger, as well as with Press and/or Morgan centrally, then she might have a real shot at making the final 18-player Olympic roster. As it stands, McCaffrey probably has a very good chance of being named as one of four alternates. Head coach Jill Ellis seems more up on 17-year-old Mallory Pugh at the moment, and Heather O'Reilly continues to lurk in the background should Ellis decide to look elsewhere for 1-v-1 attacking and width. Don't forget Crystal Dunn, who despite Ellis' tendency to shift her around the field, already has a good working connection with Ali Krieger on the right.
McCaffrey will need to show well in Olympic qualifying, but the real test would be the four-team SheBelieves tournament in early March. If she can get named to the roster for those games and look threatening against England, Germany, and France, that would be a much more solid indicator of her chances. Currently McCaffrey has one goal and one assist in five caps.
On the flipside, center back Whitney Engen was left off the roster, which at least means she'll probably be available for the Breakers all season long, with no Olympic interruption. A solid, united back four would be a nice change of pace for Boston and Engen and Kassey Kallman paired up in front of goal will probably help to cut down on shots, making it less hair-raising to be without Alyssa Naeher.
The Breakers should probably be ready to at least deal with the possibility that McCaffrey will be gone, which means finding someone to help take on the fairly large attacking burden she has shouldered thus far. That could be draft pick Brittany Ratcliffe, or it could be new international signing Louise Schillgard. Either way, it'll be an interesting next few months.