What a year for USWNT teen Alyssa Thompson! Winners and losers as Vlatko Andonovski names his 2023 Women's World Cup roster

Alyssa Thompson Julie Ertz Vlatko Andonovski USWNT composite
The Angel City sensation is heading to her first major tournament, with team-mate Julie Ertz also in after her shock international return in April

There are always surprises when a nation names its World Cup roster - and that was no different on Wednesday, when Vlatko Andonovski named the 23 players that will represent the U.S. women's national team, the reigning world champion, in Australia and New Zealand this summer.

Sadly, injuries in recent months to several key players meant it was already known that a few big names were not going to be on this list. But, as the old saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens, and several players have been presented with huge opportunities on the biggest stage.

GOAL breaks down the winners and losers from the USWNT roster announcement...

  1. WINNER: Alyssa Thompson

    WINNER: Alyssa Thompson

    What an insane 12 months it has been for Alyssa Thompson. Last summer, ahead of the Under-20 Women's World Cup, she told GOAL she had her eye on a call-up to the senior national team. Since then, she's not only done that, she's also made the 2023 Women's World Cup roster.

    Still only 18 years old, Thompson has been on the fringes of the squad since making her debut against England at Wembley last October. But then an injury to Mallory Swanson in April saw her called-up as a replacement mid-camp and probably forced Andonovski to take an even closer look at her than he already was.

    Thompson is absolutely here on her own merit though. Her coach spoke in March about how she would absolutely "make a case" to be on this roster and she has. The forward might be young and raw but that's not a bad thing. She's already shown in her first few months in the NWSL for Angel City that she is ready to impact games, and she could be the USWNT's joker in the pack this summer.

  2. LOSER: Tierna Davidson

    LOSER: Tierna Davidson

    One of the most surprising omissions on this roster has to be that of Tierna Davidson. When Becky Sauerbrunn announced that she would miss the World Cup through injury last week, it felt like it increased Davidson's chances of making the roster, in order to add depth and experience to the back line.

    But despite returning from her own ACL injury back in March, and playing plenty of meaningful minutes since, the Chicago Red Stars defender hasn't made the cut. There is a lot of competition in that area of the squad, but Davidson, who was the USWNT's best player at its underwhelming Olympic Games in 2021, will be massively disappointed to be left out.

  3. WINNER: Rose Lavelle

    WINNER: Rose Lavelle

    There has been cause for concern around Rose Lavelle in recent months. She has not featured for club or country since picking up an injury during the April international break, and OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey fears that she won't play in the NWSL again before the World Cup.

    That she was included on the roster on Wednesday was a positive sign, then. To be without Lavelle and Catarina Macario, another playmaking midfielder who misses out due to injury, could've seriously limited the creativity in the central areas of this team.

    Now, it's about making sure Lavelle is back to full fitness properly - especially for that second group game, against the Netherlands.

  4. LOSER: Adrianna Franch

    LOSER: Adrianna Franch

    Another unexpected omission on this roster is certainly Adrianna Franch, who had been included by Andonovski in each of the last four camps. The 32-year-old was part of the team that lifted the World Cup trophy four years ago, but has recently found herself on the bench for her club, the Kansas City Current.

    That appears to have had an impact on her international career as Andonovski has chosen to alter his goalkeeper group for the first time since October by instead selecting Aubrey Kingsbury, the Washington Spirit shot-stopper whose sole appearance for the USWNT came in a 9-0 win over Uzbekistan in April 2022.

  5. WINNER: Julie Ertz
    Getty Images

    WINNER: Julie Ertz

    For the best part of the last two years, while Julie Ertz took time out of the game to have her first child, the USWNT has had big questions around its midfield. Her role at the base was so important to this team and Andonovski spent a lot of time experimenting with ways to replace her while she was away.

    Then, when Ertz returned to the roster in April for the first time since the 2021 Olympics, there were even more questions. Could she be a starter again? Would Andonosvki be able to rely on her to play a crucial role at the World Cup? Unattached to a club at the time, would she even play enough soccer to get a place on this summer's roster?

    Soon after that camp, Ertz joined up with Angel City and has since played a lot of minutes, even scoring a goal in a thrilling 3-3 draw with the Portland Thorns in April. She needed that game time to secure a ticket to the World Cup and she has been successful in her quest to get one. Now, it'll be interesting to see what role she plays in New Zealand.

  6. LOSER: 2019 World Cup winners

    LOSER: 2019 World Cup winners

    There is no doubt that the USWNT has a lot of talent available for this tournament - but there is also a lot of talent not available. Only nine players on this roster lifted the World Cup in 2019 and, sadly, many of those 14 who are missing this time are out due to injury.

    On top of recent problems suffered by Sauerbrunn and Swanson, Christen Press, Tobin Heath, Sam Mewis and Abby Dahlkemper have all been out with long-term injuries and were unable to get themselves back fit in time to be in contention to go to New Zealand.

    Throw in the omissions of Franch and Davidson and it's a tough turnaround for those who tasted the triumph of four years ago. Some of them, such as Sauerbrunn, might not get a chance play in the biggest international tournament in women's soccer again, either - and they won't get to bid farewell to the highest stage on their own terms.

  7. WINNER: Savannah DeMelo

    WINNER: Savannah DeMelo

    One of the most surprising inclusions on this roster is that of Savannah DeMelo, who is yet to make her USWNT debut. The Racing Louisville midfielder was called into camp in both September and October, but didn't play any minutes and hadn't been selected since - until now.

    DeMelo returns to a squad that has a lot of uncertainties in midfield, particularly due to long-term absences of Sam Mewis and Ertz, the latter of whom returned to the roster in April for the first time since the 2021 Olympics.

    Andonovski has experimented with several players in different roles in there and DeMelo, who can score goals playing box-to-box, will hope to get a chance this summer that would see her finally win her first cap.