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USWNT kicks off pair of friendlies against Switzerland as Ellis begins prep for 2019

The USWNT kicks off a pair of friendlies against Switzerland as 11 new faces look to make a good impression.

Netherlands v United States Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Wednesday, October 19, the United States women’s national team (USWNT) takes on Switzerland in Sandy, Utah, for the first in a pair of international friendlies.

The match will be the first time since the Algarve Cup in March 2015 that the two teams have met, and only the third time the two teams have competed against each other. The USWNT has a 2-0 record against the Swiss.

However, if fans want to tune in to watch some of their favorite USWNT players, they may have to wait. Unlike the September friendlies that only showcased players on the Olympic roster, the October rosters include 11 uncapped players while a number of veterans are staying at home.

Ellis, in the first step in her preparation for the 2019 Women’s World Cup, has begun looking at new players who will be around in 2019. The average age of the 2015 Women’s World Cup roster was 28, one of the oldest in the tournament. For 2019, Ellis is looking for a blend of youth and veteran experience to try to repeat as champions.

Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Ali Krieger, Meghan Klingenberg and Julie Johnston—all members of the 2015 Women’s World Cup winning team and the 2016 Olympic roster—were all left off the October roster to make room for the new call-ups. Mallory Pugh was also not called back into camp for the first time since receiving a call up in January as she continues training with the U.S. Under-20 women’s national team in preparation for the U-20 Women’s World Cup in December.

Heather O’Reilly and Whitney Engen were also not on the October roster. O’Reilly retired from the national team last month, playing for the U.S. for the last time on September 15, 2016. In that 9-0 shutout over Thailand, O’Reilly scored a goal and recorded an assist. On October 2, Engen tweeted a letter to her fans stating that Ellis had called and informed her that her time with the USWNT, at least as long as Ellis was behind the wheel, was over.

The 11 uncapped players who have been called into camp before the Switzerland friendlies include eight players from the NWSL and three collegiate players. Lynn Williams and Abby Dahlkemper earned call-ups after impressive seasons with the NWSL Champions, the Western New York Flash. The Chicago Red Stars had three players—Danielle Colaprico, Arin Gilliland and Casey Short—get called up, while Shea Groom (FC Kansas City), Merritt Mathias (Seattle Reign FC) and Kealia Ohai (Houston Dash) also got called into camp.

The three collegiate players are Stanford goalkeeper Jane Campbell, Stanford midfielder Andi Sullivan and BYU forward Ashley Hatch.

Ellis has said she will only be dressing 18 players for each friendly, so there will be a minimum of five uncapped players dressing for each friendly. With the six allowed substitutions in a friendly, as many as five uncapped players could earn their first caps on Wednesday night against Switzerland.

If Ellis is really looking for the future members of the USWNT, it would make the most sense to dress and play as many new players as possible. It would be nice to see some uncapped players even break into the starting lineup.

Lynn Williams probably has the best chance of doing just that. Williams made quite a case for herself this NWSL season, scoring 11 goals in the regular season before adding three more in post-season play, including a header in the final 30 seconds of extra time to send the NWSL final to penalty kicks. For her regular-season efforts, Williams was named NWSL Most Valuable Player and Golden Boot Award winner.

With a season that rivals Crystal Dunn’s storied 2015 season, Williams would probably be the most likely to crack the starting XI, especially with only two of four Olympic forwards on the October rosters. However, there are six total forwards called into camp, making for pretty stiff competition in that position.

With former starting goalkeeper Hope Solo currently suspended and having her contract with U.S. Soccer terminated, the USWNT is in the market for a new starting keeper. Alyssa Naeher makes the most sense to next wear the no. 1 jersey as she is the most-capped keeper in Solo’s absence, but many seem to think neither Naeher or Ashlyn Harris would be more than a temporary solution to the USWNT’s goalkeeping woes.

If Jane Campbell sees time in goal in either of the two friendlies against Switzerland, it may signal just that. At just 17 years old, Campbell became the youngest goalkeeper to ever be called into senior national team camp when then-coach Tom Sermanni called her up in January 2013.

The USWNT takes on Switzerland on Wednesday, October 19 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, and kickoff is scheduled for 9 p.m. EST. The match will be aired on ESPN 2 and streamed online at espn.com or the WatchESPN mobile app.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Stanford), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (Western New York Flash), Arin Gilliland (Chicago Red Stars), Merritt Mathias (Seattle Reign), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Andi Sullivan (Stanford)

FORWARDS (6): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Shea Groom (FC Kansas City), Ashley Hatch (BYU), Kealia Ohai (Houston Dash), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Lynn Williams (Western New York Flash)

Switzerland Women’s National Team Roster by Position:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Seraina Friedli (FC Zürich Frauen), Stenia Michel (FC Basel 1893), Gaëlle Thalmann (AGSM Verona, ITA)

DEFENDERS (4): Caroline Abbé (FC Bayern München, GER), Rahel Kiwic (MSV Duisburg, GER), Selina Kuster (FC Zürich Frauen), Noelle Maritz (VfL Wolfsburg, GER)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Bangerter (FC Basel 1893), Vanessa Bernauer (VfL Wolfsburg, GER), Viola Calligaris (BSC Young Boys), Sandrine Mauron (FC Zürich Frauen), Martina Moser (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, GER), Melanie Müller (BSC Young Boys), Lia Wälti (1.FFC Turbine Potsdam, GER), Cinzia Zehnder (SC Freiburg, GER)

FORWARDS (5): Eseosa Aigbogun (1.FFC Turbine Potsdam, GER), Barla Deplazes (FC Zürich Frauen), Lara Dickenmann (VfL Wolfsburg, GER), Fabienne Humm (FC Zürich Frauen), Patricia Willi (FC Zürich Frauen)

Who: USWNT v Switzerland

Where: Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah, U.S.A.

When: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at 9 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN 2

Online: ESPN.com or WatchESPN app