What should Vlatko Andonovski do with Julie Ertz? How the USWNT should line-up in Women's World Cup group stage finale with Portugal

Julie Ertz USWNT 2023Getty Images

Vlatko Andonovsk is in a tough spot when it comes to his U.S. women's national team lineup. It seems that addressing any problem the USWNT has would only create two more. There are many pieces that can, and maybe should, be moved around, but doing so would only lead to a whole new set of issues.

Still, it's clear that changes are coming. They have to, right? After starting the same XI for back to back games, there's no way Andonovski can roll things out unchanged for the third time at the World Cup.

The question is then: how many changes will he make, and how will the USWNT adjust to those changes when and if they do come?

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The U.S. heads into their group stage finale against Portugal with several question marks, but there likely isn't one bigger than Julie Ertz. She's been solid at centerback but, given what we've seen from Andi Sullivan, there's a chance that the U.S. would be a better team with the veteran moved back into her old No. 6 role.

Doing so, though, would expose the defense a bit, leaving Alana Cook as the new defender. It doesn't appear Andonovski has the same level of trust in Cook that he does in Ertz but, given what we've seen, can he afford not to give her a go?

That is assuming, though, that Ertz herself is good to play a third consecutive game, having only just returned from an extended absence from the game after giving birth. Meanwhile, the attack and midfield likely need reshuffling, leaving the U.S. with plenty of problems heading into this third game.

So how does Andonovski line up the USWNT in this one? GOAL takes a look at how the USWNT should look against Portugal...