Taeguk Warrior supporters don’t have to wait until next Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Iran to cheer on South Korea. The Women’s Taeguk Warriors are set for 2 friendly matches against the US, currently FIFA ranked at #1.
UPDATE: I’m incredibly grateful to my writers Jae and Jinseok -who have done above and beyond the call of duty for the Tavern. I only wish I had more writers of their caliber at hand -as this post game review was cobbled together more than 24 hours after the game (after putting the kids to bed on Ahpa’s day). No sweat. I hope all you good Tavern goers can forgive. Egies take priority, right?
Super brief review of the 6/15 friendly : it looked like disaster from the outset of the match. The #1 ranked team quickly built a 2 goal advantage in just the first 6 minutes of the game. The 2nd goal conceded somehow settled the South Koreans, and they immediately regrouped to establish, to the surprise of their hosts, an impressive and flowing passing game. No joke, the US was searching for answers as Korea changed the game around: completing a class build up, Jeoun Eunha got crafty getting into space (and with flair) crossed to the center of the area, finding Cho Sohyun wide open, who drilled the ball past the outstretched arms of US keep Nicole Barnhart. The score suddenly cut in half by the 25th minute. Julie Foudy, a member of the storied US World Cup title team in ’99, and now a member of the ESPN announcing crew, told the viewing audience how struck she was with how composed, confident and precise the Lady Taeguk Warriors were up to the half. The US subbed in Hope Solo at the start of the 2nd half and immediately made a diving save to prevent Ji Soyun from equalizing. But just as the men’s Taeguk Warriors side struggle with their backline, Carli Lloyd was able to find a gap in the defense to rip a long distance shot past the keeper for their 3rd goal. South Korea had a few more opportunities to narrow the gap, particularly in the 82nd minute with a brilliant through ball from Lee Min-Ah to substitue Kim San-Geun in the box, her one on one shot just barely blocked by Solo who had initially gone the wrong way. A few minutes later Ji Soyun, receiving a pass and driving towards the goal, was tripped up in the box by Yael Averbuch. The ref didn’t call the penalty, with Ji looking on clearly frustrated. In stoppage time, Alex Morgan bumped into Shim Seoyeon and went down. The ref called for the PK, with Korea protesting the call -to no avail. Abby Wambach converted for the 4th goal of the game (and her official first against Korea). Both replays, and in this case, the announcers all agreed that in Lee’s case the penalty should have been called for Korea – while Morgan’s penalty was incredibly soft. Still, it’s nothing to get worked up about. Truth be told, between stats (overwhelming shot advantage) and with the somewhat shaky Korean defense, the US certainly deserved to win the match. Nevertheless, there are plenty of real positives the Lady Taeguk Warriors can take away from the game: as an unknown factor (within the west), the South Koreans impressed against the FIFA ranked #1 despite the lopsided score. And they will face the US again in a few days, this time in NY’s Red Bull Stadium next Thursday 7:30 EST on NBC Sports. Valuable experience + props by all who saw the match (it’s the Tavern owner’s first complete game watching the Women’s South Korean team), you can’t help but feel more positive rather than negative about all this. If the ladies can solidify their defense, they look to give the US a run for their money on June 20th.
Here’s a video recap, edited together by the USSF. [fast forward to 2:21 for Korea’s goal, 3:20 for Ji’s near strike against Solo, and 5:15 for Lee’s chance at the 82nd minute]
From the US WNT site:
USA : 18-Nicole Barnhart (1-Hope Solo, 46); 3-Christie Rampone, 19-Rachel Buehler (capt.) (11-Ali Krieger, 70), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 8-Kristie Mewis; 9-Heather O’Reilly, 10-Carli Lloyd (16-Yael Averbuch, 67), 12-Lauren Cheney (25-Morgan Brian, 77), 17-Tobin Heath; 2-Sydney Leroux (20-Abby Wambach, 46), 13-Alex Morgan
Substitutions Not Used: 6-Crystal Dunn, 14-Whitney Engen
Head coach: Tom Sermanni
KOR: 1-Kim Jungmi, 4-Shim Seoyeon, 6-Lim Seonjoo, 20-Kim Hyeri (14-Kwon Hahnul, 80), 5-Lee Sejin, 8-Cho Sohyun, 15-Kim Narae (13-Lee Mina, 71), 17-Park Heeyoung (22-Lee Jungeun, 62; 3-Jeong Younga, 87), 10-Ji Soyun, 12-Yoo Younga (2-Kim Jihye, 90), 18-Jeoun Eunha (16-Kim Sangeun, 54)
Substitutions Not Used: 19-Shin Jiyoung, 21-Yoon Younggeul
Head coach: Yoon Dukyeo
Stats Summary: USA / KOR
Shots: 21 / 8
Shots on Goal: 13 / 4
Saves: 3 / 8
Corner Kicks: 7 / 2
Fouls: 3 / 12
Offside: 4 / 1
Certainly, their play looks much brighter than anything the men’s side has managed this year.
Their passing game from what I saw yesterday was not too shabby — if they were able to defend better, that score would have been much closer. Hmmm, that sounds awfully familiar…