Megan Rapinoe must fight for her place after Ellis leaves her out

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Megan Rapinoe still has not found her pre-injury form, and it’s finally caught up to her in a place that matters most.

USWNT head coach Jill Ellis left Rapinoe off the roster for the SheBelieves Cup, saying the 31-year-old needs to prove she’s back to 100% after her 2015 ACL tear.

“I told Megan she just needs time to work her way back in & to get game fit,” Ellis told ESPN’s Julie Foudy. “This is a marathon, not a sprint.” Ellis’s words confirm that, at least publicly, Rapinoe’s exclusion has nothing to do with her national anthem protests, and everything to do with on-field performances.

Rapinoe was invited to an extended training camp in January in Los Angeles, but clearly did not do enough.

Rapinoe made just one start all of the 2016 calendar year.

Ellis also cited positional depth when explaining Rapinoe’s absence. “We have lots of depth in wide areas with [Mallory] Pugh & [Megan] Klingenberg back in the mix.”

Also left off the roster was the suspended Hope Solo and attacker Sydney Leroux, who has not featured for the national team in over a year thanks to the birth of her first child with husband Dom Dwyer.