After a 1-1 tie against South Korea on Oct. 6, 2019, the USWNT went on to win 22 straight home games. Thursday night, that win streak came to an end against none other than South Korea.
You can’t help but admire South Korea’s scrappy grit and determination. To play defense for nearly 90 full minutes is grueling, and to do it well is particularly impressive. With a little help from their goalkeeper, Yoon Young-geul, who had to have played one of the best games of her life, South Korea’s defense could not be broken down.
USWNT threatened, but could not find a goal
The USWNT controlled all 90 minutes of the game, but the first half was less than thrilling. The quality of the shots on goal did not reflect the caliber of players on the field. Tobin Heath, in particular, lacked finesse in her finishing and insisted on taking unrealistic shots that should have been passes.
In contrast, with the infusion of youngsters Sophia Smith and Mallory Pugh into the lineup, the second half brought more spark and pizazz. Their speed in acceleration and twinkle-toes cleverness added an element to the attack that was previously missing. That coupled with the “leave it all out on the field” energy from Carli Lloyd, playing in her penultimate USWNT game, caused South Korea a lot of problems.
Though undeniably talented and dominant against 95% of the world, the USWNT is ready for change as the younger players continue to make an impact and older legends like Lloyd say goodbye to the game.
South Korea, however organized, determined and feisty, should not be able to hold the USWNT to a tie, twice in their past two encounters.
It’s a disappointing result, but not necessarily a disappointing performance. There are a number of positives to take away from the game. Perhaps, most importantly, the fact that the future is bright with the youth on the team.