The U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT) defeated Korea Republic 3-1 on Thursday night at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in the first of two international friendlies. Julie Ertz, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe each scored a goal to help extend the USA's win streak to five matches.
Korea Republic exhibited a strong defensive front early on in the match, making play in the final third difficult for the USA. However, the stalemate would be broken in the 24th minute off a corner kick. Rapinoe sent a well-struck ball from the left side of the field towards the front post where the diving Ertz sent a low skidding header through the goalkeeper's legs and into the back of the net.
The USWNT would double its lead in the 40th minute when the attack switched the ball across the field to the Sky Blue FC Defender of the Year. Kelley O'Hara did a give-and-go with Mallory Pugh, then dribbled into the right side of the penalty box and defeated her defender end line before crossing it back towards Morgan. Morgan used her first touch to settle the ball while holding off her defender, then spun towards goal and struck the ball with her left foot to convert her fifth goal of 2017.
The Korea Republic fought back to get on the scoreboard right before halftime to take a 2-1 deficit into the locker room. The tally came in the fifth minute of stoppage time off the foot of Han Chaerin. In her first international appearance, Chaerin received the ball at her feet off a defensive clearance and penetrated towards goal. With the USA defense giving her space in front, Chaerin cut the ball to her left foot and struck the ball from distance, beating USA netminder Alyssa Naeher near the upper lefthand corner of the net.
In the second half, the USWNT continued to pressure the Korea backline and eventually earned a penalty kick in the 52nd minute after defender Ji Soyun fouled Rapinoe from behind. Rapinoe took the kick herself and slammed it home for her third tally of the year.
Despite both teams getting several chances to increase the score line, the 3-1 result held at the final whistle. The USWNT will travel to Cary, North Carolina for the second match against Korea Republic on Oct. 22 (2 p.m. ET; ESPN) at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Match: U.S. Women's National Team vs. Korea Republic
Date: October 19, 2017
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Mercedes-Benz Superdome; New Orleans, La.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. CT
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 1 3
KOR 1 0 1
USA - Julie Ertz (Megan Rapinoe) 24th minute
USA - Alex Morgan (Kelley O'Hara) 40
KOR - HAN Chaerin 45 +5
USA - Megan Rapinoe (penalty kick) 52
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 5-Kelley O'Hara, 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.), 14-Casey Short (11-Sofia Huerta, 63); 8-Julie Ertz, 6-Andi Sullivan (9-Lindsey Horan, 46), 3-Samantha Mewis (10-Carli Lloyd, 77); 2-Mallory Pugh (12-Lynn Williams, 45 +1), 13-Alex Morgan (23-Christen Press, 63), 15-Megan Rapinoe (19-Crystal Dunn, 63)
Subs not used: 24-Ashlyn Harris
Head coach: Jill Ellis
KOR: 1- KANG Gaae; 3-SHIN Damyeong (13-JI Sunmi, 45 +3), 17-JANG Seulgi; 6-PARK Chorong (2-LEE Eunmi, 83), 7-LEE Mina (15-LEE Sodam, 46), 8-CHO Sohyun (capt.), 16-CHOE Yuri (9-JEON Gaeul, 46), 19-KIM Hyeyeong (23-JANG Chang, 52), 22-HAN Chaerin; 10-JI Soyun, 12-YOO Younga (18-SON Hwayeon, 63)
Subs not used: 21-KIM Minjung; 20-KIM Hyeri, 4-SEO Hyunsook; 14- MOON Mira, 14-MOON Mira; 11-LEE Geummin
Head coach: YOON Dukyeo
Stats Summary: USA / KOR
Shots: 21 / 5
Shots on Goal: 11 / 1
Saves: 0 / 8
Corner Kicks: 5 / 0
Fouls: 6 / 14
Offside: 1 / 3
KOR - HAN Chaerin (Caution) 61st minute
KOR - PARK Chorong (Caution) 74
Referee: Christina Unkel (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Amanda Ross (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Nicholas Anderson (JAM)
4th Official: Cecile Hinds (TRI)