CHICAGO (Aug. 14, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s National Team will face the Korea Republic in two friendly matches, the first on Oct. 19 (7 p.m. CT; FS1) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, and then again on Oct. 22 at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. (2 p.m. ET; ESPN).
The matches help fill out the USA’s fall schedule, which will also include previously announced games against New Zealand on Sept. 15 in Commerce City, Colo. (8 p.m. MT; ESPN2) and on Sept. 19 in Cincinnati (7:30 p.m. ET; FS1). The USA will also face Canada on Nov. 9 in Vancouver (7 p.m. PT; ESPN2) and again on Nov. 12 in the United States at a venue to be announced soon.
The USA last faced Korea Republic on May 30, 2015, drawing 0-0 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., in what was the last match before the historic run to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup title.
“To play a highly technical and organized team like South Korea will give us more quality matches in 2017,” said U.S. head coach Jill Ellis. “They are consistently pushing the top teams in Asia and these games, right at the end of the NWSL season, will be a great window to get the team back together before our final FIFA dates in November.”
The match in Cary brings the USA to the home stadium of the North Carolina Courage, which currently sits in first place in the National Women’s Soccer League and features four players who have earned WNT caps in 2017.
Tickets for both games go on sale to the public Friday, Aug. 18, at 10 a.m. local time through ussoccer.com and by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased for the game in New Orleans at the Smoothie King Center ticket office (open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) and at the Superdome ticket office only on the day of the event. For the game in North Carolina, purchases will be limited to six tickets per household. Tickets will not be sold at the stadium ticket office except on the day of the event, if any remain.
Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages that include a premium ticket, a custom-made official U.S. National Team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits) are also available for both games exclusively through ussoccer.com.
- The USA is 7-0-2 all-time against Korea Republic, which is ranked 16th 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.
- 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 New Orleans 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.
- The last time the USA played in Cary it defeated Switzerland, 4-1, in August of 2014 in front of a sold-out crowd as Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd (penalty kick), Christen Press and Abby Wambach (penalty kick) scored.
USA vs. Korea Republic
The USA is 7-0-2 all-time against Korea Republic, which is ranked 16th in the world. The two teams first played in 1997 and most recently met in 2015, a 0-0 draw in New Jersey in the final game before the USA traveled to Canada for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. All nine games between the teams have taken place on U.S. soil.
Korea Republic played the first match in its history in 1990, against AFC rival Japan. While its rise to prominence in the women’s game has been a bit slow-going, since the turn of the century, Korea has made significant strides, qualifying for both the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where it was eliminated after the group stage, and most recently the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where it advanced to the Round of 16 – its best performance to date – before bowing out against world-power France, 3-0.
Leading the Charge
Since his hiring in 2012, the Korea Republic Women’s National Team has been under the leadership of Yoon Deok-yeo (Yoon is the family name), a former player for the Korea Men’s National Team. Yoon represented his country at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy, and earned 31 caps from 1989-1991. He played professional soccer from 1984-92 in South Korea before transitioning into coaching in 1993. On July 12, 2017, it was announced that Yoon was set to sign a new contract that will take him through the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup.
One Step Towards France
In April of this year, Yoon's South Korea team won Group B at the Asian Football Confederation Women's Asian Cup qualifying tournament in Pyongyang, North Korea, where they competed against North Korea, Uzbekistan, Hong Kong and India. South Korea and North Korea finished tied at 10 points each with three wins and a draw (1-1 against each other), but South Korea had a better goal difference (+20 to +17 for PRK) to claim the top spot in Group B, which eliminated North Korea from World Cup contention.
As the winner of Group B, South Korea will compete at the 2018 Asian Cup in Jordan, which also doubles as the regional qualification for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, where the top five teams will punch their tickets to the main event. The teams competing in that tournament will be: Host Jordan, Japan, Australia, China PR, Korea Republic, the Philippines and Thailand.
Of the 21 goals scored by South Korea in the preliminary qualifying tournament, eight were scored by Ji So-yun (4) and Lee Geum-min (4). Cho So-hyun and Yoo Young-a 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 it 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 which eventually sent South Korea to the final round of the 2018 Asian Cup, and most likely to France.