The United States Women’s National Team are back in action this week as they take on South Korea in two Midwest friendlies. The first match takes place Thursday night at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City. The USWNT will use these matches to send forward Carli Lloyd off into the sunset, as these two matches signify the final ones of her illustrious international career.
Their opponent should prove to be a much more difficult one in South Korea, who is ranked 18th in the current FIFA World Rankings and is a team that has given the USWNT fits over the years. The USWNT will look to make this game go similar to the ones they played last month against Paraguay, where they scored a combined 17 goals in two shutouts.
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (Houston Dash), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign FC), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyon), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)
FORWARDS (7): Tobin Heath (Arsenal FC), Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage)
What To Watch For
Contain Korea’s midfield. Two of South Korea’s best players, Ji So-Yun and Cho So-hyun, dominate the midfield and they have a combined 81 career international goals between them. This will be a defensive test for the American midfield, who will want to press up on offense but cannot let those two behind them.
Be clinical in the attacking third. The USWNT will create a bunch of scoring chances, particularly for Carli Lloyd as she plays in her final matches in the red, white, and blue. South Korea is much more sound defensively than Paraguay was last month, but that doesn’t mean the USWNT can’t be clinical in finishing around the net and making the most of the scoring chances they do get. It should be a good night for the American forwards if they can take advantage of their opportunities.
Be efficient on the back line. The American defense is going to get tested, but when the ball is in the defensive third, they will want to ensure they are efficient in getting the ball out of danger and going the other way. The communication will need to be there, but if the defense is efficient, they can keep the Koreans off the board.
This should be an interesting match, because South Korea can put goals on the board if the USWNT isn’t careful. However, The Gals appear to be focused and ready to go, and they control the entire match in a 3-0 victory in Kansas City.