USA Will Face South Korea in New Orleans on October 19
U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named 22 players to the roster for two matches against the Korea Republic, taking place Oct. 19 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans (7 p.m. CT on FS1) and on Oct. 22 at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. (2 p.m. ET on ESPN). Ellis will name 18 players to suit up for each of the two matches.
“South Korea is a team that is well positioned to qualify for the upcoming World Cup in France, a former world champion at the Under-17 level and a team that gave us a battle when we played them before the last World Cup,” said Ellis. “They fit perfectly into the mold of the kind of team we wanted to play this year and will be an excellent opponent for our group coming out of the NWSL season.”
The USA most recently played Korea Republic on May 30, 2015, drawing 0-0 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., in the last match before the historic run to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup title.
Of the 22 players Ellis named, 20 were with the U.S. team for the two wins against New Zealand in September. Ellis added co-captain Carli Lloyd, who is still working her way back from an ankle injury that kept her out of the September matches against the Football Ferns and the last five matches of the NWSL season. Lloyd, the reigning two-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, who is up for the award again this fall, is the most capped player on the roster with 242 games played and highest scorer with 97 career goals. Twenty-one-year-old midfielder Andi Sullivan, a senior at Stanford, gets her first call up since the fall of 2016, when she earned her first four caps before tearing her ACL in a college playoff match.
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U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position (Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 1/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 13/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 20/0)
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 9/0), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 53/11), Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars; 1/0), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC; 101/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City; 131/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 15/0), Taylor Smith (NC Courage; 5/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 132/18), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 39/4), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash; 242/97), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC; 31/5), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 30/5), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 125/33), Andi Sullivan (Stanford; 4/0)
FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC; 55/22), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 130/77), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars; 92/43), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 28/6), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 11/3)
- The match in Cary brings the USA to the home stadium of the North Carolina Courage, which won the National Women’s Soccer League Shield after topping the regular season standings and will play in the 2017 NWSL Championship Game against the Portland Thorns on October 14. The Courage feature four players who have earned WNT caps in 2017.
- The Thorns had three players named to this roster, making for seven WNT players who will join the U.S. team in Louisiana following the NWSL Championship game.
- Twenty of the 22 players on the roster are coming off NWSL seasons, with Crystal Dunn just beginning her season in England for Chelsea FC and Andi Sullivan, slated to be a high pick in the 2018 NWSL Draft, still in college.
- Carli Lloyd is on 97 career goals (sixth all-time) and with three more will become the sixth player in U.S. history to hit the 100-goal mark and the first since 2009, when Abby Wambach scored her 100th.
- Morgan comes into the matches with 77 goals after moving past Cindy Parlow into sole possession of seventh place on the USA’s all-time goal scoring list.
- Andi Sullivan has played in 13 games for Stanford this season, scoring one goal with six assists, as she continues her return to full fitness after recovering from ACL surgery at the end of 2016.
- Midfielder Rose Lavelle will be in training camp as she works her way back to full fitness but will not be on the roster for the matches.
- Nine players on the roster are finalists for NWSL year-end awards. Goalkeeper Jane Campbell and forward Mallory Pugh are up for Rookie of the Year, Alyssa Naeher is up for Goalkeeper of the Year, Becky Sauerbrunn, Abby Dahlkemper and Casey Short are finalists for Defender of the Year and Samantha Mewis, Christen Press and Megan Rapinoe are up for MVP.
- The USA is 7-0-2 all-time against Korea Republic, which is ranked 15th in the world.
- Both draws have been 0-0, the first coming in 2008 during the USA’s post-Olympic tour following the gold medal win in Beijing, and the second was the most recent meeting between the teams in 2015 in Harrison, N.J.
- South Korea accomplished an impressive feat in winning its World Cup pre-qualifying group in North Korea, drawing the hosts and finishing with a superior goal difference over the other four matches. South Korea needed to win the group to qualify for the final eight-team tournament that will be held in Jordan.
- Of the 21 goals scored by South Korea in the preliminary qualifying tournament, eight were scored by Ji Soyun (4) and Lee Geummin (4). Cho Sohyun and Yoo Younga scored three each.
- At that qualifying tournament, South Korea and North Korea tied 1-1 and both defeated Uzbekistan by 4-0 scores. That meant that winning the group and earning a berth to the final qualifying tournament came down to the goals scored against India and Hong Kong. South Korea beat Hong Kong 6-0 while North Korea beat them 5-0 and South Korea beat India 10-0 while North Korea beat them 8-0, which accounted for the three-goal difference that eventually sent South Korea to the final round of the 2018 Asian Cup. North Korea, which won both the U-17 and U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cups in 2016, will not be participating in the next World Cup.
- Now, to qualify for France 2019, South Korea needs to finish in the top five in a tournament that will also feature Jordan, Japan, Australia, China PR, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
- The U.S. WNT last played in New Orleans in the final game of 2015, which was also the farewell game for U.S. legend Abby Wambach, a 1-0 loss to China PR.
- The USA’s only other match in Louisiana was in NOLA in July of 2003, a 1-0 victory against Brazil.
- The U.S. WNT will be playing its seventh game all-time at WakeMed Soccer Park, now named after long-time women’s soccer supporter Joe Sahlen, who owned the Western New York Flash in the NWSL before selling the club as it moved to North Carolina and became the Courage for the 2017 season. The Flash won the NWSL title in 2016.
– ussoccer.com –