Fresh off a week of training in California, the U.S. Women’s National team’s next stop is in St. Louis to face New Zealand April 4th. The 25 players named to the roster are the same who were in Portugal for the Algarve Cup. St. Louis natives Becky Sauerbrunn and Lori Chalupny look to earn a spot for the World Cup in Canada.
Sauerbrunn was a four year letter winner at Ladue High school. By her senior season, she earned team captain and scored 21 goals with 19 assists. Rightfully so, she was named 2003 Parade All-American, and 2003 Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year. Sauerbrunn also led her club team J.B. Marine, to four state championships.
At the college level Sauerbrunn was a member of the Virginia Cavaliers, and continued to improve her game. She was a three-time All-American, America Scholar Athlete of the year and the ACC Defensive POY as a senior in 2007.
Since becoming a National team member in 2008, she has made 76 appearances, winning two Olympic Gold Medals in 2008 and 2012. Sauerbrunn has been consistent and reliable when called upon. I like to think of her as the problem solver; she can quickly clean up any mistakes made. Her play is aggressive but smart. She uses her body extremely well to win the ball and as a result of that, is rarely caught fouling her opponents. I enjoy watching Becky because of the way she reads the game. She knows how to position herself and she has become a great leader on the backline.
In the NWSL, she suits up for FC Kansas City and is known for tough defending. In 41 games with FCKC, Sauerbrunn has a NWSL championship and was named Defender of the year in 2013 and 2014. This puts her in the conversation as one of the best defenders in the world.
Her Kansas City teammates value her consistent effort; “She’s definitely a lead by example person,” says veteran defender Leigh Ann Robinson. “When we’re doing technical drills at practice, things like that, she’s always doing them to a ‘T’. You look at her and think, ‘ok that’s how I’m going to work…that’s how I’m going to do it.’ Obviously, being around great players makes you better, but she’s made our entire back line a whole other level better.”
Equalizer Soccer- Kansas City Teammates Laud Sauerbrunn as World’s Best Center Back
Lori matriculated at Nerinx Hall where she was named NSCAA and Parade All-American as a junior and senior. The soccer pitch at Nerinx, located in Webster Groves, is named in her honor.
Lori continued her career playing at the University of North Carolina, winning an NCAA title in 2003. Lori finished her college career with 30 goals and 32 assists from the midfield. She was a team captain her junior and senior season. She was an All-American for the Tar Heels.
USSoccer.com – Lori Talks about Club and Country
Saturday’s match against New Zealand will be Lori Chalupny’s 99th Cap with the USWNT after earning her 97th and 98th caps during the recent Algarve Cup. She is just two appearances away from hitting the century mark, which 30 other WNT players have reached.
Equalizer – Chalupny returns to USWNT after five year hiatus
Chalupny is considered one of the best and most versatile players in the NWSL, which is entering its third year. In 2008 she was part of the United States’ second of three straight Olympic gold-medal winning teams and she was widely heralded by teammates and outsiders as the best left back in the world.
Upon returning from the Algarve Cup, unlike some other players she immediately returned to the Chicago Red Stars, where she played in two of the preseason matches. Chalupny scored twice while leading her team to a pair of victories.
Lori is actively competing for a role as a left outside back position for the upcoming World Cup. Candidates for the position includ Kelly O’Hara, Meghan Klingenberg and Crystal Dunn. Of the 25 players participating in these final games, only 23 will be called in for the World Cup and only 18 dress for each game. She played the entire 90 in the teams final group game at the Algarve Cup, a scoreless draw against Iceland. Her 98th cap, it was also the first time since being recalled that she played the full 90 minutes. Klingenberg went 85 minutes against France in the Algarve Cup Final before giving way to Abby Wambach in the 85th minute.
Here’s who I would personally like to see against New Zealand:
Defense: Solo (GK), Krieger, Johnston, Sauerbrunn, O’Hara
Midfield: Rapinoe, O’Reilly, Lloyd, Holiday
Forwards: Morgan, Press
Unless Jill Ellis reads this, I know this lineup is just wishful thinking on my part. We don’t know what lineup she will use, but for the hometown fans, Sauerbrunn and Chalupny are the favorites to watch.
Side note: I have the honor of sitting with the American Outlaws and will be sporting red, white and blue hair. Busch Stadium estimates a crowd of 35,000 for the match. If you are in the crowd near the Outlaws, stop and say hello.
USWNT v NZWNT at Busch Stadium, Saturday April 4th. Game time set for 2:30pm. Watch on FS1. BUY TICKETS
Jacqui Porter Bio
Jacqui Porter. 23. 2014 Culver-Stockton College graduate w/ Bachelors degree in Media Communications, 4 year soccer player at C-SC.