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Andi Sullivan appears to be on the cusp of becoming a mainstay in the United States women’s national soccer team.
The USWNT will play Paraguay again on Tuesday, a chance for Sullivan to come to an end after the statement she made in Thursday’s game.
“I think this is a great opportunity for me to make my way here, and it’s hard, but I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Sullivan said. “I wouldn’t want it to be easy.”
The 25-year-old made the from 11 in the first game as the only central midfielder. US head coach Vlatko Andonovski was pleased with her performance and said she will play a similar role on Tuesday.
“The only difference is that we’re going to ask her to be a little more aggressive with her passes and look for more intrusive passes,” he said.
On Thursday, Sullivan was the second-best passer in the US, with 92 percent of her 54 passes being key. She was also the second best marksman, hitting three of her four shots on target.
Sullivan is not a rookie in the international game. She earned her first cap on the senior team in 2016 and has been on and off the rosters ever since. Injuries were an issue, including a torn ACL in 2016, a torn MCL in 2020 on the same knee, and a quad injury in January 2021.
“It’s been quite a journey, but if you look around every player here, every player has had injuries and good timing and bad timing and I think my story is no different, and it’s not over yet,” he said. Sullivan.
Andonovski made it clear before the first game against Paraguay that Sullivan would get a lot of playing time during the fall series, with both Julie Ertz and Lindsey Horan sidelined due to injuries. The USWNT coach says the level of skill and success he has seen from his younger players in the NWSL this season inspired him to call them to camp. Sullivan has three assists and an 82.9 percent pass rate with the Washington Spirit.
The Spirit has been in trouble recently with the league’s COVID-19 protocols, including four positive cases in the team. Washington had to give up their last two games against Portland Thorns FC and OL Reign, and after Thursday’s game. In the meantime, a power struggle between co-owners threatens to bring the club into even more chaos.
“It’s rare for this environment to be less stressful than my club environment, but that’s the case for me now,” said Sullivan of the Spirit situation. “Just super excited to go to camp, great to have a great workout and play a game.”
Andonovski said he was “very well aware” of how the situation in Washington could affect his players mentally, saying coming to camp might be the escape Sullivan and her Spirit teammates needed.
“We think they’re all three – Kelley [O’Hara], Andi and [Emily] Sonnett – to be in a very good mood,” he said. “They’re excited to be in the camp.”
The USWNT’s second game against Paraguay is Tuesday at 7:30 PM ET in Cincinnati, Ohio. Sullivan says the game is important for herself and the team in building good habits as they begin preparations for the 2023 FIFA World Cup, with qualifiers starting later this year.
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