Crystal Dunn, the last player cut when Jill Ellis had to trim her World Cup roster to the mandatory 23 spots, has had a terrific year in the National Women’s Soccer League. Dunn, who plays for the Washington Spirit, led the league in scoring during the regular season, with 15 goals. She was named player of the week six times, an NWSL record, and she’s one of five finalists for league MVP. For the second consecutive year, the Spirit are in the playoffs. They play the Seattle Reign in Seattle on Sunday, with the winner advancing to the championship game against either FC Kansas City or the Chicago Red Stars on Oct. 1.
Dunn’s effort and accomplishments have not gone unnoticed by Ellis, who spoke often about how difficult it was to leave the versatile 23-year-old off the World Cup team. Ellis, already with an eye toward the 2016 Olympics, has added Dunn to the U.S. roster for the two friendlies against Haiti in Detroit on Thursday (Sept. 17) and in Birmingham, Ala., next Sunday (Sept. 20).
All 23 players from the World Cup will be in Detroit, with Dunn a 24th. Christen Press will miss the Birmingham match because of a family commitment.