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Ellis names Olympic qualifying roster, leaves HAO off

Blues and US National team Captain Becky Sauerbrunn is lone representative for FC Kansas City

FC Kansas City's Becky Sauerbrunn is also the US Co-Captain
FC Kansas City's Becky Sauerbrunn is also the US Co-Captain
Thad Bell

FC Kansas City will only have one representative on the U.S. Women's National Team at the 2016 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship. Head coach Jill Ellis named the 20 player roster today and US and FC Kansas City Captain Becky Sauerbrunn is the only player from the Blues on it.

Heather O'Reilly was not on the USWNT's Olympic qualifying roster. O'Reilly has 228 caps and three Olympic gold medals and was part of the Women's World Cup winning squad in 2015 as well. Despite being in fantastic shape HAO has never seemed to be in favor with head coach Jill Ellis.

Also missing from the roster are the twin FC Kansas City pregnant forwards, Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux. Both will miss the Olympics as well as the NWSL season.

Although the Olympic roster is smaller than the World Cup roster, a number of retirements (Lauren Holiday, Abby Wambach, Lori Chalupney, Shannon Box), Megan Rapinoe and Christie Rampone's injuries and the previously mentioned pregnancies have left it open for Ellis to add some new and young faces.

U.S. Women's National Team Olympic Qualifying Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3):
Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (7):
Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (5):
Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash)
FORWARDS (5):
Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)

"This was an exceptionally challenging roster to select," said Ellis via press release. "The players all worked and competed very hard in the January camp and that made the final decisions extremely difficult. With only 17 field players allowed on the roster, and minimal time in between matches, I think we have one of the most versatile rosters ever for a qualifying tournament. Most of the field players are capable of playing at least two positions and as CONCACAF competitions generally present teams that will sit low and get numbers behind the ball, it is important to have players that can individually and collectively break teams down to create chances."

Qualifying:

The US is in a Group A with Costa Rica, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Group B consists of Canada, Guatemala, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.

After opening Group A play against the Ticas, the USA continues first round action against Mexico on Saturday, Feb. 13 (3 p.m. CT), and finishes group play against Puerto Rico on Monday, Feb. 15 (7:30 p.m. CT). Broadcast information for the tournament will be announced at a later date.

The two venues for the competition are BBVA Compass Stadium, home to the Houston Dash of the NWSL and the Houston Dynamo of MLS, and Toyota Stadium, located in the Dallas suburb of Frisco and home to FC Dallas of MLS.

The round-robin stage of the tournament will be conducted with three doubleheaders in each group. Group A will play doubleheaders at Toyota Stadium on Feb. 10, 13 and 15 and Group B - which features Canada, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana - will play doubleheaders at BBVA Compass Stadium on Feb. 11, 14 and 16. The all-important semifinal matches will be held on Feb. 19 in Houston, with the winners qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. The championship game on Feb. 21 will also be in Houston.