Sam Mewis’ early brace got the party started and the United States Women’s National Team cruised to a 6-0 win over Korea Republic at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC. Christen Press, Julie Ertz, Lynn Williams, and Allie Long. also scored as the USWNT improved to 9-0-2 in 11 matches against South Korea — all on U.S. soil.
Alex Morgan had her four-game international goal-scoring streak snapped but still played a role in one of the goals.
There were a few changes to Jill Ellis’ starting lineup from Thursday’s first meeting in this series. Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris got the start between the sticks, replacing Alyssa Naeher. The back line of Casey Short, Becky Sauerbrunn, Abby Dahlkemper, and Sofia Huerta replaced only the right back (Huerta for Kelley O’Hara). With Andi Sullivan back at Stanford and Mallor Pugh (hamstring) injured, Lindsey Horan, Ertz, and Mewis made up the midfield, behind a front line of Morgan, Press, and Williams in a 4-3-3.
Mewis wasted no time in putting the Yanks ahead just three minutes into the contest, heading a back-post ball from North Carolina Courage teammate Dahlkemper through keeper Kang Gaae to make it 1-0.
The United States continued buzzing around Gaae’s goal, earning several corners that were dangerous, as the USWNT used its advantage in height and physicality. Williams had a pair of shots knocked behind and Mewis had a header saved just before Morgan could arrive to tap it home.
At 20’ Mewis had her brace. Gaae couldn’t handle a drive from Horan and punched it directly into the path of Mewis, who smashed it home to make it 2-0.
The next 15 minutes of the match consisted mainly of the U.S. pinning South Korea in its own end and having shots blocked or working down the flanks for corner kick opportunities. The Yanks were just a tick off from extending the lead a few times. Morgan came up with a steal and sent Williams on the attack but the Courage striker’s touch let her down and the chance went away without a shot.
However, just moments later, at the 35-minute mark, Morgan picked out Press, who went one-on-one with a defender and fired a golazo past Gaae to make it 3-0 to the Stars & Stripes.
South Korea got its best opportunity of the opening period five minutes later. She wasn’t very busy in the first half, but when Harris was finally called upon she came up big. Ji Sunmi’s scrumptious pass split the U.S. central defense and sent Lee Geummin in alone on Harris. The Pride keeper stretched out and kept Geummin’s smash out of the net.
After that warning sign, the U.S. took care of itself to close out the half and continued to get on the ball in the attacking third, earning a couple more corners. The USWNT made it 4-0 on the stroke of halftime off another dangerous set piece. Dahlkemper sent a cross into the area that Horan headed back across the face of goal. Ertz was there to score yet another headed goal to put an exclamation point on the opening 45 minutes for the United States.
Julie Ertz and Headers, a novel. pic.twitter.com/Kkh6QmPr7G— Our Game Magazine (@OurGameMagazine) October 22, 2017
Ellis made wholesale substitutions at the break, including withdrawing both Pride players. North Carolina Courage midfielder McCall Zerboni got her first USWNT cap, Jane Campbell came on for Harris, and Allie Long, Crystal Dunn, and Megan Rapinoe all entered the game. Press, Mewis, and Sauerbrunn also departed for the U.S. South Korea made a few changes as well.
With all the substitutions, the second half had a bit of a choppy feel to it, and little rhythm. The game was played mainly between the boxes for the first 15 minutes, although Long had a shot attempt that fizzed just wide of goal.
The USWNT made it 5-0 on a Williams tap-in at 51’, however, as Rapinoe stole the ball from the defense and squared it back for a simple finish.
Williams nearly became the second Courage player with a brace on her club’s home field a minute later, but she fired just wide of the back post from above the box. Three minutes later, Carli Lloyd checked in as the final U.S. sub, sending Dunn to outside back.
There was a scary moment in the 66th minute, as Williams was nearly sent in all alone but had her arm tugged by Cho So-Hyun and was off balance, colliding with Gaae. The keeper stayed down after contact between Williams’ boot and her head and needed to be stretchered off and replaced by Kim Minjeong. Williams was booked, which is harsh considering it was So-Hyun who was largely to blame for the striker going in awkwardly on her goalkeeper.
From that point on it was just a matter of seeing the game out. Dunn fizzed a dangerous cross through the area in the 75th minute but a bit too far in front of Lloyd. Two minutes later, Williams fired a cross in for Lloyd that the captain headed off the left post. Lloyd continued to hunt for a goal, firing in the 80th minute, only to see Minjeong make a diving stop.
Despite the chances for Lloyd, it was Long who made it a six pack. Rapinoe tracked down a ball in the right corner and crossed it. Minjeong got a touch on it but it fell on the left side, where Horan collected and cut it back for Long to finish off, making it 6-0 to the U.S. at the 83-minute mark.
Cool as you'd like from Long. That pass by Horan tho. pic.twitter.com/3bd5dNA8b0— Our Game Magazine (@OurGameMagazine) October 22, 2017
The South Koreans nearly got on the board in the 86th minute. Lee Eunmi popped a curling effort up into the sun, forcing Campbell to backpedal and make a last-second one-handed save to prevent the ball from sneaking into the upper 90 at the back post. The visitors got the last good look of the game with a dangerous free kick in stoppage time, just outside the U.S. penalty area. However, Eunmi’s effort was over the bar and moments later the final whistle blew on a dominating performance by the USWNT.
The Yanks have two more matches in 2017, with a pair of friendlies against Canada. Those matches will take place Nov. 9 and 12 in Vancouver, and San Jose.