Soccer

USA vs. South Korea, 2021 friendly: What to watch for


The United States Women’s National Team prepare once again to host South Korea tomorrow, this time at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The USWNT and South Korea battled to a 0-0 draw last Thursday in Kansas City, so the USWNT hope to finally put one in the net tomorrow night. The scoreless draw continued an interesting trend, as the USWNT have been held scoreless in 4 of their last 9 matches dating back to the Olympics. They hope to reverse that trend and get back to how they played against Paraguay last month, where they scored 17 goals while keeping the ball out of their net.

The USWNT are facing a tough squad in South Korea, who were brilliant at weathering the storm of shots the Americans sent on goal last week. The Koreans will look to do the same tomorrow night. This match, of course, is the final one in the illustrious career of Carli Lloyd, and South Korea hope they are not a footnote in the history books as she takes to the field for the final time.

Roster

GOALKEEPERS (2): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Adrianna Franch (Kansas City NWSL)

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

Avoid sloppiness on the attack. There was an air of sloppiness in the attacking third for the USWNT last week, so they’ll want to clean that up tomorrow night. They have the attackers, but they need to focus on finishing when they get those chances and taking shots on goal to test South Korea’s defense.

Watch for South Korea’s midfielders. The USWNT did a great job of holding South Korea’s midfielders last time out, and they should focus on continuing that tomorrow night in Saint Paul. South Korea can be dangerous in the midfield, so the USWNT can’t lose them as the ball moves forward. Being stronger on the ball will also neutralize their ability to take the ball and run with it in the other direction.

Play their game. It is easy for the USWNT players on the field to get lost in the hoopla surrounding Carli Lloyd’s last match, trying to set her up for a final goal before she gets her curtain call. However, they must do that within the flow of the normal game plan. Focusing too much on that will let South Korea take advantage. Just play the normal game and the opportunities will come for everyone on the field.

Prediction

This will be a night that centers around Carli Lloyd’s career, but it’s the next generation that comes through for the USWNT. Catarina Macario and Sophia Smith both get goals in a 2-0 U.S. victory.



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