Dunn to train with US women ahead of games against Nigeria

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Defender Crystal Dunn will return to practice with the U.S. women’s national team as it prepares for the 2023 Women’s World Cup with a pair of exhibition matches next month against Nigeria.

Dunn is not quite match fit after the birth of her son in May, but she’ll join the team to train for its matches on Sept. 3 in Kansas City, Kansas, and on Sept. 6 in Washington, D.C.

She could possibly return for a match against England at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 7.

“We do believe that she’s going to be playing minutes for us in one of the upcoming games. Now what will those minutes look like? I cannot be more precise because we need to see where Crystal is right now when she comes into camp,” U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “But so far we know that she’s ahead of schedule, and she’s doing very well and it’s important for her to start integrating back into the environment because now she will have a little bit different challenges outside of playing soccer and we’re all excited for it.”

Fellow national team veterans Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara, Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle were also included on the 23-player roster, which is largely unchanged from last month’s World Cup qualifying tournament in Mexico.

Ashley Hatch, who pulled a muscle during qualifying, returns to the roster. Sam Coffey, who replaced Hatch at the tournament, was also included.

“We did decide to stick with the same roster, or players that were with us, because we were very happy with the level of play that those players displayed in our environment,” Andonovski said. “And that’s why going forward obviously we’re going to see a lot of these players coming back, if they continue to stay in the form that they’re in.”

Among those missing is Sam Mewis, who remains sidelined by a right leg injury. Emily Sonnett, who was with the team for the W Championship, is recovering from an injury.

The roster by position with club team affiliation:

Goalkeepers: Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars).

Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns).

Midfielders: Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns); Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit).

Forwards: Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns).

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