Instant Analysis: USA 2, South Korea 0

Wondolowski's brace was among the USMNT's better individual performances against South Korea. - Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

At a sold-out StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., before a fairly raucous, obviously pro-American crowd, the Americans scored in the fourth minute, squandered some chances, and scored a second-half insurance goal to beat South Korea.

2-0 is a familiar, happy scoreline for the U.S. Men's National Team, and they achieved their trademark Dos A Cero result against the visiting Korea Republic (South Korea) before a sell-out crowd of 27,000 in the StubHub Center. And yet, while the Americans started emphatically and rarely looked in danger of conceding a goal, there were moments where they might have been exploited by a better side -- say, for instance, the teams they'll face in World Cup Group G in a little more than four months.

The match couldn't have started better for the U.S. The first half's lone goal came four minutes in, with Chris Wondolowski finishing, on  a particularly exquisite break in the fourth minute, starting when Landon Donovan sent an outlet pass wide right for a streaking Graham Zusi, who sent the ball into Brad Davis. Davis's ensuing shot on goal -- the highlight of an energetic first half for him -- resulted in Wondo finding the back of the net, heading in the rebound with poacher's flair.

To the chagrin of TV-watching soccer fans, the goal wasn't shown live, due to the grindingly-slow ending of an ACC basketball matchup that USMNT fans weren't quite as invested in. Once the TV audience joined the live one, they were "treated" to a number of sequences that looked like sure USMNT goals that missed the final, crucial, goal-making step.

These included a deep Landon Donovan run with the ball in the 10th minute, a beautiful Brad Evans to Mix Diskerud pass in the 12th minute (which ended in an unfortunate fit of foot fumbling in front of goal), an ambitious Besler long-ball that Graham Zusi got to but couldn't quite tame in the 23rd minute, and a Wondo cross that just evaded a sliding Donovan near the end of the half.

The Koreans didn't look particularly threatening in the first half -- one dangerous-looking run by Lee Keun-Ho in the 18th minute was hampered when teammate Min-Woo Kim blundered into his pathway -- though they did test goalie Nick Rimando on an 8th-minute corner kick that nearly leveled the match, and winger Yohan Go nearly engineered a goal on his own when he torched left-back Michael Parkhurst on a 22nd minute run. To Parkhurst's credit, though, he had some good runs out of the backfield, and recovered for a Matt Besler miscue in the 35th minute on a particularly dangerous sequence in the American box.

In the second half, Graham Zusi had a particularly strong start to the second half, culminating with a deft assist to Wondolowski in the 60th minute. Wondo didn't have the opportunity to turn the brace into a hat trick, however, as he was subbed off for Eddie Johnson -- part of a triple substitution that included Clarence Goodson for Besler and Benny Feilhaber for Diskerud.

Three additional subs came on later in the second half -- Luis Gil and DeAndre Yedlin, both receiving their first-ever international caps, and Eric Alexander, making only his second-ever USMNT appearance.

Yedlin was whistled for a questionable foul just outside the box in the 88th minute that Kyle Beckerman had to head out of danger -- Yedlin cleared the subsequent header out of danger.

Korea has one last chance to erase Nick Rimando's clean sheet in the match's final seconds, but the goalie smothered a dangerous leading pass in front of his goal to finish the match.

While the performance might have not been as dominant as it could have been -- Mexico beat this same Korea team three days ago in San Antonio 4-0, after all -- the Americans did played a generally good game, dominating possession 58-42, defending well against South Korea's six corners, and moving the ball well through the midfield. Against its World Cup group opponents, however, the team will need to be more opportunistic -- assuming they can get the same kind of movement against the better class of defenders they'll face in June.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Stars and Stripes FC

You must be a member of Stars and Stripes FC to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Stars and Stripes FC. You should read them.

Join Stars and Stripes FC

You must be a member of Stars and Stripes FC to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Stars and Stripes FC. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9353_tracker