FIFA Women's World Cup
USA shakes up lineup vs. Sweden, Emily Sonnett get first start of World Cup
FIFA Women's World Cup

USA shakes up lineup vs. Sweden, Emily Sonnett get first start of World Cup

Updated Aug. 6, 2023 4:47 a.m. ET

MELBOURNE, Australia — United States coach Vlatko Andonovski made two changes to his lineup for the Americans' do-or-die World Cup game against Sweden on Sunday (coverage begins at 4 a.m. ET, with kickoff at 5 a.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app) at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.

With midfielder Rose Lavelle suspended because of yellow card accumulation, Emily Sonnett makes her first-ever World Cup start. Winger Trinity Rodman returns to Andonovski's 11 for the round of 16 after coming off the bench in the USWNT's group-stage finale against Portugal; Rodman started the first two matches, against Vietnam and the Netherlands.

Sonnett has started every match at defensive midfield for her NWSL club, OL Reign, during the 2023 season. She got the nod over Savannah DeMelo, who started in place of Lavelle — Lavelle was coming off of an injury ahead of the World Cup — in the Americans' first two group matches.


Sonnett has played just 15 total minutes across two World Cup campaigns — nine minutes as a late sub against Chile in the 2019 group stage, and six minutes against Portugal last week.

"Getting in Sonnett for Rose Lavelle, you might be losing some attacking creativity," FOX soccer analyst Heather O'Reilly said on the pre-match broadcast. "But you have a destructor in there now, an enforcer in there, and that's going to allow Lindsey Horan to go up the pitch and pull the strings herself."

The backline appears to remain unchanged, with Julie Ertz and Naomi Girma in central defense, Crystal Dunn at left back and Emily Fox on the right. There had been speculation pregame that Andonovski might move up either Dunn or Ertz, both versatile players with experience playing in the midfield. But it seems that the coach decided to stick with the same four-player rearguard.

The U.S. backline has been solid, allowing just 11 shots and one on goal through three games. Sweden promises to be the toughest test so far, though. It won all three of its games in Group G with 43 shots, 16 on target and nine goals, four of which came off set pieces.

Doug McIntyre is a soccer writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and he has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. She previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the author of "Strong Like a Woman," published in spring 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow her on Twitter @LakenLitman.

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