United States women’s national team head coach Vlatko Andonovski provided an injury update for Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle after the two veterans made the 23-player roster headed to the World Cup, insisting, ‘It’s not something we’re worried about.’
US Soccer announced the roster on Wednesday, with Alex Morgan, Kelley O’Hara and Alyssa Thompson headlining the squad.
The American side will enter the tournament as reigning champions after historically lifting the 2015 and 2019 trophies. Now, the team heads to New Zealand for the group stage to face the Netherlands, Vietnam and Portugal before attempting to reach their third consecutive World Cup title.
But returning veterans Rapinoe and Lavelle were both doubts prior to the roster reveal, after the two suffered injuries that impacted their respective 2023 NWSL campaigns.
Lavelle has been battling a knee injury that kept her on and off the sidelines since April, while Rapinoe picked up a calf issue during OL Reign’s game against Kansas City on June 10. But Andonovski insists neither will be a problem in New Zealand and Australia.
“The situation with Rose Lavelle right now is not something that we’re worried about. We expect Rose to have minutes in our send-off game and then we’ll move on from there and manage the minutes accordingly,” Andonovski said.
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“We’re happy with the players that we have in that position, which is Ashley Sanchez and [Savannah] DeMelo. If needed at certain points of a game or in certain games, we feel comfortable with them stepping in.”
The head coach later warned Rapinoe will likely play a different role for the United States this time around, after forming a vital part of the 2015 and 2019 winning squads.
“Megan Rapinoe is probably going to have a different role than the previous two World Cups,” Andonovski said. “She certainly is going to have different types of minutes, but her role first from a leadership standpoint is so important, but also her performance on the field. When she is on the field she is very valuable for us.
“She’s progressing well from her injury and she’s another one that is expected to have minutes in the send-off game.”
The USWNT kick off the World Cup on July 21 when facing Vietnam at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand.