After a pair of easy wins against Paraguay last month, the USA was back in action as the WNT took on South Korea. While the games in September didn’t offer much in the way of a challenge for the Americans, South Korea is a team that reached the 2019 World Cup and even made some noise in the 2015 edition of the tournament.
The USA lined up in their typical 4-3-3 with a few players trying to establish themselves in the team as Tierna Davidson made her fifth straight start, Catarina Macario got her 12th cap, and regular call-up Adrianna Franch getting her 10th.
South Korea featured a trio of players on clubs in England, Sohyun Cho, Soyun Ji, and Geummin Lee, while their teammates ply their trades domestically. The visitors lined up nominally in a 4-4-2, but were pinned back for much of the match by the Americans.
In the end, South Korea hung tough. The visitors were often defending in their own defensive third over the course of the match, but stayed organized and never panicked in the face of the American attack. For the USA, there would be chances and posts struck, but in the end their shots would be off target or brilliantly saved by keeper Yoon Youngguel.
Gifs of zero goals
For as much fire power as the USWNT can muster, South Korea was successful at staying compact and organized in defense. Still, the Americans had some early chances as Lindsey Horan hit the post in the 13th minute. Another chance went wanting as Horan sent a header on frame in the 19th minute, but it was saved by Yoon Youngguel.
Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and Tobin Heath would all have chances that they couldn’t make good as the half progressed. In the end, South Korea held off the USA and even had a few effective moves forward of their own going into the half.
The second 45 began as the USA made three changes with Sophia Smith, Kristie Mewis, and Mallory Pugh replacing Tobin Heath, Macario, and Rapinoe respectively. The changes would not produce much of a change early in the half for the Americans as South Korea continued to stymie the USA attack. Still, the USA had itself to blame as off the mark finishing as a good 50th minute chance from Mewis sailed high.
Oddly, the game always felt like it was set to open up as South Korea began making more progress on their counter attacks. Carli Lloyd would enter what would be her second to last match for the USA in the 63rd minute when she came on for Alex Morgan. Despite that, South Korea always managed to re-group when losing the ball after venturing forward and stopped the Americans from having effective chances in transition.
As the game wore on the combination of Lloyd and Smith proved very effective for the US. Smith terrorized defenders on the right side, taking on two and three at a time to find space and create chances. Lloyd nearly had the go-ahead goal in the 75th minute, but Yoon had a fantastic kick save to keep the game scoreless.
The rest of the game would be the Yoon Youngguel show. Not even a nutmeg from Smith and a few attempted flying headers from Lloyd could beat the South Korean shot stopper. The game would end at 0-0 thanks to some off target shooting and on-point goalkeeping.