Kelley O’Hara is one international away away from reach 100. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
CHICAGO – Sky Blue FC defender Kelley O’Hara could reach an important milestone this month.
O’Hara, who has 99 caps, was called into the U.S. national team by head coach Jill Ellis for two matches against New Zealand. The games are set for Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. Sept. 15 at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati Sept. 19.
She will become the 36th female player in U.S. history to play 100 or more times for her country. O’Hara debuted for the USA in 2010 and switched to playing primarily defender in 2012. Her goal against Germany in the semifinal of the 2015 Women’s World Cup – her first at the senior level – will go down as one of the most memorable moments in U.S. history.
Other area players named were midfielder and Northport, N.Y. native Allie Long and forward and Rockville Centre, N.Y. native Crystal Dunn.
Of the 22 players she named to the squad, Ellis will select 18 to suit up for each of the two matches.
“We are looking forward to getting to Denver and having a couple of days together prepping for our first New Zealand match,” Ellis said. “With only six matches left in 2017, we want to take advantage of the time we have together and finish the year with solid performances. New Zealand, South Korea, and Canada all present different challenges, and these games will round out one of the most competitive schedules the WNT program has played in a calendar year.”
Veteran midfielder Tobin Heath returns to the roster after recovering from a back injury that kept her out of the U.S. lineup since March. Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris also returns after recovering from a quad injury that kept her off the field for several months.
Midfielder Morgan Brian returns after missing the last three WNT events due to injuries. The recent Chicago Red Stars acquisition has not played for the USA since March. Midfielder Megan Rapinoe, who has been out for several weeks after minor knee surgery following the Tournament of Nations where she scored twice, has recovered sufficiently to be available for selection for the New Zealand games.
The U.S. roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars;18/0), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 1/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 13/0)
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 7/0), Tierna Davidson (Stanford; 0/0), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 51/9), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC; 99/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City; 129/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 13/0), Taylor Smith (NC Courage; 3/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 67/6), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 131/18), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 37/3), Rose Lavelle (Boston Breakers; 6/2), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC; 30/5), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 28/5), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 123/33)
FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC; 54/22), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 128/74), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars; 90/43), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 26/5), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 10/2)