TopOfTheCircle.com

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Jan. 14, 2017 — One last weekend

The IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. will represent the final hurdle for the current roster for the U.S. team that will take part in this summer’s FIL Women’s World Cup in England.

A weekend of games against the University of Florida and Notre Dame will allow head coach Ricky Fried and his coaching staff to make the final cuts to get the team down to the 18 roster players and two alternates who will form the World Cup team.

In all phases of the game, Fried has uncomfortable choices. Who will share the ball on attack? Which four players will be assigned to try to lock down the best from Canada, Australia, and England? How will Fried use three very talented goalies? And can a three-time Tewaaraton Trophy winner be integrated into a stacked midfield?

Let’s have a look at the roster, by specialty:

ATTACK (eight current; cut to six): I think only three of the players currently on Fried’s roster are locks: Alyssa Murray, Michelle Tumolo, and Kayla Treanor. Danielle Etrasco is a veteran player who always seems to make the right decisions. Brooke Griffin and Alex Aust cannot rely on just having played for Maryland in order to make the team. Kylie Ohlmiller has done great work recently and is very much in play here. Cortney Fortunato, like Ohlmiller, will be playing in the NCAA this spring.

MIDFIELD (eight current; cut to six or seven): You can’t go to a World Cup and not take your three most physically gifted players. That would be Taylor Cummings of Maryland, Kelly Rabil of James Madison, and Laura Zimmerman of North Carolina. I believe Katie Schwartzmann of Maryland, Shannon Gilroy of Florida, and veteran Sarah Bullard of Duke will get the nod here. I would also likely take Ally Carey of Vanderbilt as a player who could flex into attacking midfield.

DEFENSE (six current, cut to four): Becca Block, Kristen Carr, and Jenn Russell are my starters, plus I’d have Alice Mercer subbing in to keep them fresh, even in games where they might not have much to do.

GOAL (three current, cut to one or two): Devon Wills is my No. 1. Gussie Johns would make a fine No. 2 goalie, but I’ll keep Liz Hogan as my first backup for the World Cup, then give Johns the job later in the summer when the team goes to Poland for the World Games.

If nothing else, this weekend’s games will give some insight as to what Fried and his staff are thinking for the summer. The games are being streamed live beginning this afternoon.

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