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USWNT World Cup roster analysis: Grading Vlatko Andonovski’s choices at every position

Did Andonovski make the right choices ahead of the World Cup?

8 min read

Three-peat watch is on, people.

After winning the last two World Cups, the U.S. women’s national team is heading to Australia and New Zealand next month in search of a third-straight World Cup title. We know the coach: 46-year-old Vlatko Andonovski has been in charge of the USWNT since the fall of 2019. Now, thanks to Wednesday’s roster announcement, we know the players, too.

To set the stage ahead of the United States’ run at this summer’s World Cup, we’re diving into each position group in the team’s 23-player roster. Who’s in the squad? And did Andonovski make the right choices?

Let’s break it down by grading the selections at each position.


  • Alyssa Naeher, Chicago Red Stars
  • Casey Murphy, North Carolina Courage
  • Aubrey Kingsbury, Washington Spirit

Truthfully, the biggest question facing Andonovski in the goalkeeper position coming into roster release day wasn’t really a big question at all. Here it is anyway: should Aubrey Kingsbury or Adrianna Franch be the team’s third goalkeeper?

With Alyssa Naeher widely expected to be the team’s starter at the World Cup and Casey Murphy locked into the No. 2 spot, the third goalkeeper was the only personnel item up in the air. Kingsbury has been one of the best shot-stoppers in the NWSL this season with the Spirit, while Franch lost her regular starting job with the Kansas City Current, so it’s safe to say Andonovski made the right call by choosing Kingsbury.

Now, I mentioned just a moment ago that Naeher is expected to start in goal for the U.S. this summer. While that’s true, it’s clear based on her struggles this year that she’s not the best option for the United States at this point in her career. She's been a below-average shot-stopper for Chicago this year and is in just the 46th percentile when it comes to saving shots above the expected rate in the NWSL, according to FBref. Both Murphy and Kingsbury are better options.

Why longtime USWNT starter Alyssa Naeher shouldn’t be in goal at the World Cup
The U.S. manager can boost his team’s World Cup odds with just one decision.

Andonovski gets credit for selecting the right players, so he’s getting an ‘A’ for this group. But he could give his team an even better chance to lift a trophy by making a difficult call to bench Naeher.

Grade: A

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