The NWSL semifinals start on Aug. 23, with the Seattle Reign slated to play a still undetermined opponent the following day. That didn't stop United States Women's national team coach Jill Ellis from calling up a host of players who are expecting to be involved in those all-important matches for a friendly against Switzerland on Aug. 20.
The Reign, who were already slated to be without Jess Fishlock for their regular-season finale, will also have to go through at least part of their pre-playoff training without likely starters Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe and Sydney Leroux.
"With the very short time together, we're just bringing in these 19 players, but we're excited about the chance to play a team that has some talented attackers and that will be in the World Cup next summer," Ellis said in a team release. "It's been tremendous to watch our players compete in the NWSL this season and I'm really excited to get them together for what will be another great test for our team."
U.S. Soccer, who pays those three players' wages as part of their agreement with the NWSL, is obviously entitled to bring in whichever players they see fit. But considering there will only be four teams involved in the playoffs, and that this is only a friendly, it seems to have been reasonable to hope that they might limit their pool to players not competing in those matches.
For all the talk of the NWSL eventually gaining stability, there's no small bit of irony in one of the organizations that is currently propping it up paying virtually no mind to what should be the most important matches of the season. That Ellis also gives seemingly little to no consideration to league form is another example of how the federation is undercutting the league. Maybe these are just growing pains, but it seems as though U.S. Soccer could be doing a little more to ease them.