4-Oct-2019: This post has been updated with additional USWNT injury details.
This Sunday, Jill Ellis will helm what should be her last match as the head coach of the United States Women’s National Team, when the USWNT plays 20th-ranked Korea Republic at Soldier Field in Chicago. Prior to that, on Thursday, the USA will first host Korea Republic in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Both matches will be televised live, with Fox Sports 1 airing the Thursday match, while ESPN will have the Sunday matinee match:
DETAILS: International Friendlies vs. Korea Republic
When: Thursday, October 3rd @ 8:00 PM EDT
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
TV Channel: Fox Sports 1 (FS1)
TV Window: 7:30 PM to 10:00 PM EDT (includes half-hour of pregame coverage)
When: Sunday, October 6th @ 2:00 PM EDT
Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
TV Channel: ESPN
TV Window: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT
USWNT ROSTER: As these are Victory Tour matches, the roster would normally be limited to the WWC squad, but due to injuries and other considerations, Washington Spirit midfielder Andi Sullivan has been recalled to the national team (U.S. Soccer). Sullivan, who has 11 appearances since debuting in 2016, could earn her first cap since November 2018. Her Spirit teammates, Rose Lavelle and Mallory Pugh are also healthy after not playing in the Portugal friendlies, with each scoring a goal in a comeback win against the North Carolina Courage last week. (NWSL) And, Megan Rapinoe, fresh off of winning FIFA’s Best Woman Player Award (FIFA), played almost the entire match for the Reign last Sunday.
Update (4-Oct-2019): On Friday, Casey Short was called up for the match in Chicago.
- From the most recent NWSL injury report (September 28): Alex Morgan (right knee – out), Kelley O’Hara (left ankle – out), and Samantha Mewis (right knee – questionable).
- From the line-up notes for the first match: Also listed as unavailable were Morgan Brian, Ali Krieger, and Tobin Heath.
- Lindsey Horan is not with the USWNT camp (at least in Charlotte), as she is recovering from a likely concussion received during Portland’s match against Reign FC last weekend.
- Additionally, Kristen Hamilton was out with a right foot injury, which could be a reason why the recent USWNT debutante was not called up.
USWNT STARTING LINE-UP: Given that the USA could face the Korea Republic in the Olympics and/or a technically similar team with Japan, these friendlies should be much more useful scrimmages compared to the earlier Victory Tour matches this year. So, one would hope that Ellis will field those players most likely to make an 18-player Olympic roster next year.
When the USWNT players return to their club teams on Monday, most will only have one more match remaining, on Saturday, October 12th. With almost a full week off before the next match and the NWSL playoffs picture fairly settled, there are few pressing factors for managing individual playing time during these two friendlies. However, the cumulative workload after nine months of playing for club and country in a WWC year could be a relevant factor in limiting time for some players (and one of the reasons mentioned for calling up Sullivan).
As the Chicago Red Stars, who have locked up a semifinal spot hosting the third-place team, have already finished their regular season, their USWNT players will not play a club match until October 20th. So, Morgan Brian, Tierna Davidson, Julie Ertz, and Alyssa Naeher should all be available for significant minutes. Players from the bottom five teams, notably Carli Lloyd from Sky Blue, Christen Press and Becky Sauerbrunn from the Utah Royals, Rose Lavelle and Mallory Pugh from the Washington Spirit, plus Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger from the Orlando Pride, could all see more minutes than normal.
For Ellis’ final match on Sunday, we could see some “sentimental” picks for the starting line-up.
WHAT TO EXPECT: The USA should win both matches, as Korea Republic is not a top tier national team, though Korea sometimes get results against top ten teams, including scoreless draws against both Japan and Australia in WWC qualifying last year (Wikipedia). And, although the USA has yet to lose to the Korea Republic, the Koreans have earned two draws against the USWNT, including a 0:0 tie right before the 2015 Women’s World Cup. However, Korea’s travel roster is significantly different compared to their WWC squad (see below), so mistakes caused by inexperience and unfamiliarity between players could result in a more lopsided victory for the USA than what would have otherwise been the case.
Korea Republic are an entertaining yet frustrating team to watch. In style, they are similar to Asian rival Japan, with technical and creative passing abilities, plus technical dribbling and ball skills. Yet, they are not as proficient as Japan, leading to missed scoring opportunities and costly defensive errors.
FIFA Women’s Rankings: Korea Republic is currently ranked 20th overall in the most recent rankings (September 27, 2019) and 5th in the AFC.
(Has timely updates, detailed rosters, recent match results, historical match information. Google Translate works fairly well, but pronouns usually default to male.)
YouTube: Official KFA match highlights playlist (WNT only)
(Highlights are “extended,” with sufficient coverage of build-up play prior to goalscoring opportunities.)
Travel Roster: For the complete roster, see Opponent Watch: Korea Republic Roster For October USWNT Friendlies Announced.
Head Coach: Former WNT player Hwang In-Sun was recently appointed as an interim or “caretaker” coach. Hwang is the third person in charge of the Korea Republic WNT this year , following the resignation of Yoon Duk-yeo, who was in charge of the team up through the WWC, and more recently, the resignation of Choi In-cheul, whom the KFA had hired to be the team’s permanent head coach.
Last Match(es) Played: Korea Republic have not played any matches since the Women’s World Cup, where they lost all three of their group matches, first to host France (0:4), then to Nigeria (0:2), and Norway (1:2). (FIFA)
Recent Form: Korea Republic have lost four straight, including the WWC matches mentioned below, plus an 0:1 friendly loss to Sweden in Göteborg, back in late May. In April, Korea hosted Iceland for two matches, losing the first 2:3 and drawing the second match 1:1. (See YouTube link above for extended match highlights of the Iceland friendlies.) Their last win came against New Zealand in March.
What’s Ahead – Olympic Qualifying: The Korea Republic have a decent chance to qualify as one of two additional Asian teams for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, as host Japan are auto-qualified. Korea Republic will host one of the final group stages, and depending on the group draw, could have either Australia or Korea DPR as their main group rival. (China is the other group host.) The top two teams in each group will then face a home-and-away playoff with a team from the other group for a ticket to Tokyo. (Wikipedia)
Also, in December, they will host the final round of the East Asian Football Federation competition, the EAFF E-1 Football Championship (Wikipedia), where they will play against Japan, China, and Hong Kong.
DATE SCORE GOALSCORERS Oct. 22, 2017 6-0 W S.Mewis (2), Ertz, Long, Press, Williams Oct. 19, 2017 3-1 W Ertz, Morgan, Rapinoe May 30, 2015 0-0 T June 20, 2013 5-0 W Wambach (4), Holiday June 15, 2013 4-1 W Holiday, Lloyd, K.Mewis, Wambach Nov. 8, 2008 1-0 W O'Reilly Nov. 5, 2008 0-0 T Nov. 1, 2008 3-1 W Hucles, O'Reilly, Tarpley Oct. 3, 1999 5-0 W Fotopoulos (2), Hamm, Milbrett, Parlow May 4, 1997 6-1 W Hamm (2), Baumgardt, Keller, Lilly, Own Goal May 2, 1997 7-0 W Hamm (2), MacMillan (2), Milbrett (2), Pearce
- All previous match-ups have been friendlies hosted by the United States
- Christie Pearce Rampone scored her first USWNT goal against Korea Republic in the May 2, 1997 match.
- Abby Wambach surpassed Mia Hamm’s 158 career international goalscoring mark by netting four goals in the June 20, 2013 match.
- Midfielder Andi Sullivan Added To USWNT Roster For Victory Tour Matches Vs. Korea Republic (U.S. Soccer)
- USWNT Faces Korea Republic in Final Pair of 2019 Victory Tour Matches (U.S. Soccer)
- Five Things To Know About: Korea Republic (U.S. Soccer)
- KFA Interview article with Korea’s Lee Se-eun, who returns to the Korea WNT after a eight year absence (KFA.or.kr, in Korean) – Google Translate link