Harrison, N.J. – On a beautiful New Jersey afternoon, the U.S. Women’s National Team concluded its Send Off Series with a somewhat disappointing goalless draw against South Korea.
With the World Cup just nine days away the continued absence of Alex Morgan was of more importance than anything that took place on the field against the Koreans.
Morgan was joined on the sidelines today by Megan Rapinoe and despite assurances from all concerned that the two would be fine for the World Cup, feel free to worry.
Worry, because despite near complete dominance by the home team the first half ended all even at zeroes, with South Korean keeper Kim Jungmi having gone relatively untested.
Things changed a bit in the second half with Jungmi coming up big against Sydney Leroux soon after the restart, but still the goal(s) would not come.
Leroux had looked the most dangerous player on the pitch for much of 75-minute stint. Her speed had the Korean backline in panic mode several times on the day, but some good goalkeeping and less than stellar finishing kept the zeroes on the board.
Coach Jill Ellis kept faith with her starters for the opening hour before going to her bench. Amy Rodriguez, Christie Rampone and Tobin Heath came in, out went Wambach, Julie Johnston and Lauren Holiday as a scoreless draw began to look more and more likely.
The old adage about not reading too much into a friendly remains as true as today as it ever was, so Ellis won’t get too bent out of shape over the final score, or individual performances.
Still, the starting backs gave a good account of themselves, Carli Lloyd was her dangerous self and Leroux’ runs looked like giving the Korean defenders a collective nervous breakdown.
Tobin Heath worked hard defensively and caught the eye with a couple excellent long balls into Leroux once she came on and before Leroux checked out in favor of Heather O’Reilly.
A bobble from Jungmi in the 78th minute nearly gifted the U.S. a goal, but the keeper just about recovered to prevent catastrophe.
A Heath free kick found O’Reilly on the doorstep and nearly produced a stoppage time goal for the Yanks, but the veteran’s header carried high.
And then Hope Solo, an afterthought throughout what was a quiet afternoon for her, came up with one big save to at least spare the home side an embarrassing loss.
For all that the fans were great. Clearly on hand to send their heroes to the World Cup in style, the sellout crowd of 26,467 did just that. From a TIFO calling for the U.S. to “Bring it Home,” to constant chanting and screaming the support was enthusiastic and unwavering.
Would a healthy, and in form Morgan and Rapinoe have given those supporters something more to cheer about? Perhaps. More importantly, will they do it next week in Canada?
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
KOR 0 0 0
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger (16-Lori Chalupny, 66), 19-Julie Johnston (3-Christie Rampone, 60), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 22-Meghan Klingenberg (5-Kelley O’Hara, 84); 14-Morgan Brian, 12-Lauren Holiday (17-Tobin Heath, 60), 10-Carli Lloyd, 23-Christen Press; 2-Sydney Leroux (9-Heather O’Reilly, 75), 20-Abby Wambach (capt.) (8-Amy Rodriguez, 60)
Subs Not Used: 6-Whitney Engen, 7-Shannon Boxx, 13-Alex Morgan, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 18-Ashley Harris, 21-Alyssa Naeher
Head coach: Jill Ellis
KOR: 21-Kim Jungmi; 3-Kim Hyeri, 5-Kim Sooyun, 6-Shim Seoyeon, 19-Kim Doyeon; 8-Park Heeyoung (12-Jung Seolbin, 17 (10-Jeon Gaeul, 65)), 13-Kang Yumi (9-Park Eunsun, 86), 15-Cho Sohyun, 16-Kwon Hahnul (4-Hwang Boram, 46); 7-Ji Soyun (23-Lee Sodam, 83), 11-Yoo Younga (22-Lee Geummin, 70)
Subs Not Used: 1-Yoon Younggeul, 18-Jun Minkyung, 2-Shin Damyeong, 14-Suran Song, 17-Lee Eunmi, 20-Kim Seonjoo
Head coach: Yoon Dukyeo
Stats Summary: USA / KOR
Shots: 15 / 7
Shots on Goal: 5 / 2
Saves: 2 / 5
Corner Kicks: 3 / 1
Fouls: 13 / 2
Offside: 2 / 0
USA – Carli Lloyd (caution) 56th minute