The United States Women’s National Team didn’t have their usual explosive offense in their final World Cup warm-up game, but Hope Solo came through with a masterful save at the end to preserve a nil-nil draw.
No. 1 made a terrific diving save during the final seconds of stoppage time, preventing what would’ve been the game-winning goal for Korea Republic.
Hope spoke afterward about the team’s nerves playing in front of 26,467 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., and how this 0-0 result will help them when they head to Canada next week.
“It feels like it was the first game of the World Cup. We had a lot of nerves, which is going to happen in the World Cup,” Solo said. “So I’m glad it happened now. We are OK, our confidence is good. We have one eye on the goal and we know what that goal is and this doesn’t change anything.”
The USWNT attack had several opportunities— 15 shots, including five on goal—but with both Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan out of action, the offense didn’t click as usual.
As a result, the onus was heavily on Hope’s shoulders to keep Korea off the board. The visitors tallied seven shots, two of which were on frame, but No. 1 erased both chances.
The first save came in the 53rd minute when Hwang Boram, a mid-game substitute for the Koreans, launched a ball from more than 30 yards out that curved ominously down beneath the crossbar, but Hope punched the tricky shot away to keep the sheet clean.
South Korea’s next shot on goal didn’t come until almost 40 minutes later. Deep into the 92nd minute, when only 20 seconds of stoppage time remained before the final whistle, Korea mounted its final attack, where another Korean substitute challenged No. 1. This time it was Lee Geummin, who hit a rocket from 20 yards out. The shot was perfectly on target, but Hope dover to her left and knocked the ball safely to the corner.
That brilliant save allowed the American side to breathe a sigh of relief at the end of a long week, and a long afternoon at Red Bull Arena. Hope and the U.S. squad spent much of the past week tending to media obligations, including a Good Morning America appearance on Friday in New York City. According to head coach Jill Ellis, that had the team thinking about the World Cup, rather than Korea and the final game of their Send-Off Series.
“Not to spin it for the players but given the week we’ve had, some of them are mentally already in Canada,’’ Ellis said. “They understand what we’re trying to do. They understand the opponents. Right now, it’s about us being in a good place. I think they are. Mentally, they’re ready. They were ready to be out of here a week ago.”
Team USA’s Carli Loyd had a similar outlook. Lloyd helped to create a number of chances for the American attack, but the lack of scoring didn’t leave her discouraged.
“The result isn’t what we wanted today, but there were some takeaways and I think now is the time to get these things out of our system before we head over there,” Lloyd said. “We’ll be just fine and I think we made some adjustments at halftime. Just didn’t find the back of the net.”
Hope and Co. also had some incredible support to help them move past the draw and send them off to Canada beaming with U.S. pride
As they have throughout a string of Send-Off Series sellouts, No. 1 and her teammates took time after the game to meet with fans, sign autographs and take pictures.
— Heather (@heather_varg) May 30, 2015
— Kerri Copello (@KerriWFXL) May 30, 2015
— The American Outlaws (@AmericanOutlaws) May 30, 2015
— Seattle Reign FC (@ReignFC) May 30, 2015
— peri (@acanofmoeebeans) May 27, 2015
The USWNT opens group play of the FIFA World Cup in Canada on Monday, June 8 against Australia. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET at Winnipeg Stadium in Winnipeg, Canada, and the game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.
- Sell-Out Crowd Sees WNT Draw Korea Republic in Final World Cup Warm-Up (US Soccer, May 30, 2015)
- USWNT Midfield Out of Sync in Final Game Before Women’s World Cup (ESPN, May 30, 2015)
- U.S. Women, South Korea play to scoreless draw (Seattle Times, May 30, 2015)
- USWNT draws South Korea in final send-off match (MLS Soccer, May 31, 2015)
- USA end World Cup prep work with lackluster draw vs. Korea (Fox Soccer, May 30, 2015)
- Ready or not, U.S. heads to Women’s World Cup after 0-0 draw with South Korea (FC Yahoo, May 31, 2015)
- U.S. draw with South Korea in World Cup tune-up (Reuters, May 31, 2015)
- #SheBelieves at WNT vs. KOR (US Soccer, May 31, 2015)