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Smith and Lavelle called up for USA friendlies in Europe

Will Abby Smith get her first international cap?

Stephanie Yang

Jill Ellis has named her 21-player USWNT roster for their upcoming June friendlies against Sweden and Norway.

GOALKEEPERS (2): Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Abby Smith (Boston Breakers)

DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Jaelene Hinkle (NC Courage), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Boston Breakers), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash/Manchester City), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)

FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC), Sydney Leroux (FC Kansas City), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride/Olympique Lyonnais), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit)

Rose Lavelle is in the lineup; given her most recent performances with the WNT and her current form in NWSL, it was almost a given she would be called in. On the flipside, Megan Oyster is out for this roster, though that may be more of a reflection of limited roster spots for center backs than judgment of ability. But the real happy surprise here is the call-up of Abby Smith.

Now there’s no telling what might have happened if Ashlyn Harris had not been injured while playing for the Orlando Pride; Harris is now out for approximately eight weeks with a quad injury. But looking at NWSL performance, after weeding out the Canadian keepers, there were really only two people who could be in consideration: Smith and Seattle’s Haley Kopmeyer. From the wording of USSF’s press release, it seems as though the preference would be to take both Smith and Kopmeyer (or another unnamed third GK) but citing a “short trip and only a few training sessions,” Ellis only wants to bring two goalkeepers for evaluation. That Smith edged Kopmeyer for the spot speaks well of her performance for Boston in their past six games. Smith has shown great positioning, the ability to make big stops, and a good kicking range.

All WNT players are expected to be available for games on the weekend of June 3rd, so Smith and Lavelle should travel with Boston for their June 3rd away game against Orlando.

The question now is whether Smith will actually get capped for the WNT. Based on Ellis’ previous habit of splitting games between Harris and Alyssa Naeher, there’s a chance Smith could find herself in net. After returning from a season-ending knee injury in 2016 and putting together a series of extremely competent performances for Boston in 2017, Smith deserves to at least get her foot in the door.

USA vs Sweden kicks off at 1:30 PM ET on Thursday, June 8 and will air live on ESPN2 and UDN.

USA vs Norway kicks off at 1 PM ET on Sunday, June 11 and will air live on Fox.