Crystal Dunn will play at left back during Concacaf Women’s Olympic qualifying, but her versatility was important to make the roster. (Outfoxed Media Photo)
By Michael Lewis
She was listed as a defender on the U.S. women’s Olympic qualifying roster, but head coach Vlatklo Andonovski says not to count out Crystal Dunn from taking an attacking role in the future.
The Rockville Centre, N.Y. native starred as a left back on the U.S. women’s World Cup championship team in France last summer and Dunn plays as an attacking midfielder for the National Women’s Soccer League champion North Carolina Courage.
In fact, the 27-year-old Dunn’s versatility certainly didn’t hurt her chances of making the 20-player qualifying roster, which was released Friday.
“If you look at the roster, many of the players are versatile players and that also played a role into constructing the roster,” Andonovski said on a conference call. “Crystal’s ability to play as a left back but also her ability to play as an attacking midfielder, even as a forward, makes her extremely valuable for this team.
“Now, going forward, at least for now, she’s a defender. Going forward, I would not be surprised if we see her in another role.”
Dunn, who has scored 24 goals in 96 international appearances, is only four caps away from reaching the century mark, which could very well happen in the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament. She performed for the Rockville Centre Soccer Club and Albertson Soccer Club.
The USWNT will competed in the competition from Jan. 28-Feb. 9. The USA opens the tournament, which will send its top two finishers to Japan, against Haiti on Tuesday, Jan. 28. The Americans then face Panama on Friday, Jan. 31 before finishing Group A play against Costa Rica on Monday, Feb. 3. All the U.S. group matches will kick off at 8:30 p.m. ET.
The USA will attempt to qualify for a seventh consecutive Summer Olympic Games and win the Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying tourney for the fifth consecutive time.
Northport, N.Y. native and midfielder Allie Long, a member of the USA world championship squad, was not named to the qualifying roster.