Wed. Oct 21st, 2020

‘She needs to be more consistent’ – Andonovski explains Pugh omission from USWNT Olympic qualifying roster

2 min read

The highly rated 21-year-old will not be a part of the group that will attempt to qualify for the Tokyo games

U.S. women’s national team manager Vlatko Andonovski has said he is looking for more consistency from Mallory Pugh, who was one of the more surprising cuts from his Olympic qualifying roster on Friday.

Pugh has been considered one of the top prospects in the USWNT pipeline since making her national team debut in 2016 at age 17, and she has already amassed 62 caps while scoring 18 goals.

Though she was a part of the World Cup roster last summer, the 21-year-old was left off Andonovski’s 20-player squad that will attempt to qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo. 

Pugh may not be as far along in her development at this stage as many would have anticipated, which was underlined when the Washington Spirit traded her away to Sky Blue FC on Thursday. 

Speaking on a conference call on Friday, Andonovski admitted that he needed to see more from the winger before including her going forward.

“Mal was competitive and she did well but there were other players I believe that performed better,” Andonovski said.

“I want to be clear that she’s a very talented player, she performed well and she has a big future in front of her so I’m pretty sure if she keeps on developing, going forward she will be on this roster.

“For Mal, consistency is crucial for being on this roster. She needs to be more consistent in the day to day, which is extremely hard.”

Though Pugh was omitted from his team, Andonovski said that he was keen to make a special arrangement to show that she’s a big part of the team’s future.

“In fact, just because of her potential, I invited Mal to come and train with us even though she’s not on the roster,” Andonovski said, “because as a coaching staff, we went to be there for her and provide the best opportunity for her to develop.”

The USWNT will begin Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying on January 28 against Haiti, before facing Panama on January 31 and Costa Rica on February 3 to finish off group play. 

Should they advance out of group play, the USWNT will be able to clinch qualification to the Olympics with a win in the semifinal.

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