The Jill Ellis era is officially over, and while it may not have ended the way so many of the matches in her tenure have, the U.S. did come from behind to draw South Korea 1-1 at Soldier Field in Chicago in front of 33,027 supporters. South Korea struck first, but Carli Lloyd equalized and almost gave the U.S. the win.
The U.S. finishes Jill Ellis’ 2019 calendar year run at 18-1-3 but saw a 17-match winning streak snapped. The The USWNT is 10-0-3 in the all-time series against Korea Republic, and if not for a controversial offside call, it might have been a victory. Ellis herself finishes her National Team career as the winningest coach in program history at 106-7-19.
With several players from the World Cup roster injured, including Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, Sam Mewis, and Lindsay Horan, Ellis brought out the following starting lineup for his last match as the USWNT head coach.
The U.S. started quickly, looking to go over the top to Julie Ertz, but just she was offside. In the sixth minute, the South Koreans pressed high and were able to get their first shot of the match. Fortunately, the ball went wide to the left. The U.S. very quickly attacked down the right side of the field, though Tobin Heath’s cross didn’t connect.
In the ninth minute, South Korea turned the ball over just outside of the area, but the U.S. wasn’t able to convert. Two minutes later, Heath put in another cross, and found Rose Lavelle, but her header sailed over the crossbar. Through the first 15 minutes, South Korea controlled the time of possession at 69% to the U.S.’s 31%.
South Korea was the sharper of the two teams in terms of passing. and almost managed to get a chance the 21st minute, but ultimately Becky Sauerbrunn cleaned it up in the box. The scare did seem to wake up the U.S., as the Yanks started pressing forward a bit more. In the 25th minute, the ball fell for Ertz at the top of the box, but she sent a shot off the right post.
Heath earned a free kick, and in the 33rd minute, Megan Rapinoe sent it in, but the U.S. couldn’t convert. One minute later, Ji So-yun put the Koreans up 1-0 on the 34th minute shot.
The U.S. closed out the first half, and one minute of stoppage time, managing to bring the time of possession much closer, at 45% to South Korea’s 55%. The Yanks managed five shots on goal to South Korea’s three, with both teams managing two on target.
To start the second half, Ellis brought on Mallory Pugh for Rapinoe, Abby Dahlkemper for Crystal Dunn, and Morgan Brian for Lavelle. South Korea wasn’t cowed by the U.S. equalizer and started pressing right from the whistle, though the Yanks did reassert themselves in short order.
The South Koreans earned a corner in the 53rd minute, but the U.S. dealt with it. In the 56th minute, the U.S. was able to get the ball into the area, but couldn’t get a shot off. One minute later, and the visitors did the same, though the shot went wide right. In the 59th minute, Ellis brought on Allie Long for Ertz, and Andi Sullivan for Heath.
In the 63rd minute, South Korea nearly scored an own goal, but the U.S. wasn’t able to convert on the following corner kick. In the 69th minute, the visitors sent a shot wide of the post. In the 73rd minute, Alyssa Naeher easily handled a free kick from outside the box.
South Korea kept up the press against the U.S. — something many teams haven’t been able to do. It is worth mentioning that this was a very tired squad. In the 83rd minute Jessica McDonald came on for Casey Short, and nearly scored for the U.S., but her header hit the right post. In the 84th minute, Son Hwayeon was shown a red card due to a substitution error. The U.S was now up a player, and despite their tired legs started pushing hard to get the winning goal.
In what ended up being nearly six minutes of stoppage time for the U.S., the Yanks couldn’t find a winner despite several chances. The best of which was Carli Lloyd’s goal that was called off for offside.
The U.S. finished with the advantage in shots (15-5) and shots on goal (5-3). The team also won the possession battle (52%-48%).
The USWNT is off until November, when the Yanks will play Sweden.