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Three Reign Players On World Cup Qualifying Roster, Cox Left Out

The Reign's regular contingent of four national team players was trimmed to three when the squad for the upcoming CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying tournament was announced this morning.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

It's become a kind of ritual through the 2014 season. The USWNT has a friendly (or a tournament). The Reign's four national team players are called in. The USWNT has a friendly. The Reign's four. . etc.

But this time it's three. Goalkeeper Hope Solo, midfielder Megan Rapinoe, and forward Sydney Leroux have all been called up by Jill Ellis to the US squad that will compete in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament for the 2015 World Cup. The tournament runs from October 15th to October 26th in the eastern US. The first US game is on the 15th at Sporting Park in KC versus Trinidad and Tobago.

The US is heavily favored to qualify out of a weak group, but they'll be doing it without defender Stephanie Cox, a longtime national team fullback who was routinely involved in this summer's training camp and friendly schedule but was left off this roster by head coach Jill Ellis. Her exclusion will likely make room at fullback for Crystal Dunn or Kelley O'Hara, two primarily attacking players who can help punish the weaker defenses in qualifying.

It's notable that Ellis has called in Solo, who is unquestionably the team's #1 keeper, but who has a trial scheduled to start on November 4th for domestic assault charges stemming from an incident with her sister and nephew in Kirkland earlier this year. Both US Soccer and the Reign maintained that they would wait for the legal process to resolve before taking any action regarding Solo, despite calls that she should be preemptively dropped, including from ex-teammate Jill Loyden.