U.S. women eye 2018 and beyond

The U.S. women’s national (pictured), shown celebrating after scoring against France in the 2016 Olympic Games, will look to qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup through the CONCACAF Women’s Championship next year. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)

SAN JOSE, California -- After calling in 55 players since the 2016 Olympic Games, United States women's head coach Jill Ellis is ready to put together a team that will qualify for and win the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup.

The defending world champion finished 2017 with a 12W-1D-3L record after a 3-1 win over visiting Canada on Sunday night.

Ellis has changed lineups and formations to find the right combination for the 2018 CONCACAF Women's Championship, the qualifying event for France 2019.

“We’ve spent the last nine months looking at players and creating this jelling process as we go forward,” Ellis stated.  “We are looking to the future and how we can get better.”

She has a huge pool from which to choose.

“Now we have 18 months to develop a squad of 23," Ellis added.

 Veterans carried the scoring load Sunday as Julie Ertz and Alex Morgan struck for the first two goals.

Carli Lloyd, the 2016 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year, came off the bench to register her 98th international goal. Although 37-years-old, she plans on playing in her fourth World Cup.

“It’s been a very long couple of years for me,” finished Lloyd.  “I feel explosive.  This is probably the best I’ve felt in my career.  It’s all about continuing to break barriers and to keep going. 

“You want to peak at the right moment and 2019 is that moment.”