From the PSL Soccer Desk: Injuries Mount For the USWNT

admin Last updated on: February 17, 2024

As if the injury problems for the US Women’s National Team were not evident enough before the Algarve Cup, they certainly have been magnified since. At the beginning of the year, US defender Amy LePeilbet underwent ACL surgery on her left knee, ruling her out of action for 6-8 months. Not long after that announcement another US defender had been ruled out. Heather Mitts (EDITORS NOTE: Mitts has since retired, and become a sideline reporter for the Union), who attended the first camp of the year, did not suit up for either friendly against Scotland due to an undisclosed injury and did not make the roster for the 2013 Algarve Cup.

Before the US Women headed to Portugal, the injury news got worse. Hope Solo, the US’ first choice keeper, was ruled out with ligament damage in her left wrist. Solo underwent successful surgery on March 7 to repair the damage which will keep her out of the goal for 3-4 months. It is unclear whether or not Solo will be ready to return to the field when the US takes on Canada on June 2 for the first time since the Olympic Semi-final game that saw the US dash Canadian hopes of winning their first gold medal. With Solo not joining the team at the Algarve Cup, US keepers Jill Loyden, Nicole Barnhart and uncapped Ashlyn Harris made the roster. Loyden would get the start in the US goal against Iceland in the opening group game of the Algarve Cup with a solid display in goal. During practice before their second group game against China, Loyden fell victim to the injury bug, breaking a bone in her left hand. Loyden will be out for up to three months and will miss the start of the NWSL season. Each of these teams will certainly be looking to fill the void that has now been left by these injuries.

As if things could not get any worse on the injury front for the US, center midfielder Carli Lloyd was ruled out for 6-8 weeks after breaking a bone in her left shoulder during the match against Iceland. Lloyd who was substituted out of the game in the 64th minute after a hard challenge sent her to the ground hard on her shoulder. She would sit out the game against China and Sweden and after an MRI on Tuesday, it was confirmed she had a broken bone in her left shoulder. Lloyd, like LePeilbet, Solo and Loyden will miss the first part of the upcoming NWSL season which is set to begin on April 13. LePeilbet will miss the entire NWSL season, with Solo, who was allocated to the Seattle Reign, Loyden, who was allocated to Sky Blue FC, and Lloyd, who was allocated to the Western New York Flash, set to return at some point during the season. Lloyd should be set to return in May, while Solo and Loyden may not join their teams until June. At this point it’s anyone’s guess as to when they will be ready for game action again.

All of these injuries have provided new National Team head coach Tom Sermanni a chance to really evaluate some other players, like Yael Averbuch, Ashlyn Harris, Kristie Mewis and Christen Press. There is no doubt that when these veteran players are set to return, it will be a welcoming gift to the US, but until then, other players need to step up to fill the spaces left. I have no doubt that the depth of the US will shine through this period of injuries, and it will give USWNT fans a fresh crop of players to cheer for, but the hardest decision to make now is, who do you start?

The injury to Amy LePeilbet and Heather Mitts on defense saw the return of Ali Krieger from her ACL surgery that forced her to miss the 2012 London Olympics. While Ali’s return is a very welcomed one, young players like Crystal Dunn are getting a good look from Sermanni as well. Dunn featured during the US win against Iceland in the opening game of the Algarve Cup. The injury to Hope Solo saw Jill Loyden get the starting nod in goal against Iceland. It also saw Ashlyn Harris make the Algarve Cup roster as the third keeper. Harris earned her first CAP against Sweden on Monday. Loyden’s injury during training before the match against China sees the US down to only two keepers at the moment. It is unclear if Sermanni will call U-23 keepers Bianca Henninger or Adrianna Franch into camp before the friendly against Germany on April 5.

The injury to Lloyd may have left a gap in the starting center midfield, but there are no shortage of players that can step in during her absence. Lauren Cheney is familiar with playing in center midfield right in front of Shannon Boxx as this was a combination seen throughout 2012 under former coach Pia Sundhage. Yael Averbuch as proven that she is up for the challenge after playing as a center mid during the US win over China and coming on as a substitute during the Sweden game. Christen Press has also played a little in the center of midfield when she played there during the United State’s second group game win over China.

Certainly the hope for Tom Sermanni and the rest of the US team is that the injury bug stay clear from them for a little while. The bottom line is, no matter who the player is that get’s sidelined with an injury for the US Women’s National Team, there is always another player that is ready to step-up and fill the gap. There is no question that the injured players will be missed and that new talent will emerge, but when the injured players return to the team, it will be that much sweeter to see them come back.

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