Not all of the North Koreans' play against the USA in their 2-1 semifinal win at the U-20 Women’s World Cup was admirable. Three key U.S. attackers, Ally Watt, Mallory Pugh and Ashley Sanchez, needed examination for possible head injuries following Korean fouls.
Watt, a 66th-minute sub, was thumped from behind by Ri Un Yong while receiving a high ball in the 80th minute. Pugh, the main victim of previous Korean fouls, was clearly dazed after a similar hit from behind by Ju Hyo Sim 11 minutes into overtime. Referee Katalin Kulcsar inexplicably kept her cards in her pocket for both incidents, but finally cautioned Ju Hyo Sim for forearming Sanchez in the 105th minute.
The hit on Watt, who had scored after coming off the bench in the USA’s 3-1 group win over New Zealand and 2-1 victory over Mexico in the quarterfinal, rendered her ineffective. She returned to the field but was subbed when overtime started.
The Americans, despite fending off waves of Korean attacks after they fell behind on a 50th-minute penalty kick, managed to send the game into overtime on Natalie Jacobs’ 89th-minute goal. They may been disadvantaged by the blows taken by Watt, Pugh and Sanchez, but there was no denying that the Koreans played the superior soccer while out-shooting the USA 25-7 and having 58 percent of the possession. U.S. keeper Casey Murphy made five saves while her counterpart Kim Myong Sun only one.
Most of the game, especially after the first half hour, was played in the U.S. half and the Americans tended to turn the ball over soon after they won it, often with aimless clearances. The Koreans, meanwhile, displayed superb technique in controlling the ball, dribbling and passing, which they did swiftly and on the ground. The Americans, too often, hit high balls out of the back. (The 5-foot-4 Pugh should not be expected to win aerial duels.)
"I think you saw why Korea DPR made the semifinal and why the growth of the game in their country has propelled them to so much success," said U.S. coach Michelle French. "I thought the first 90 minutes we did well enough to be in the game. It's an extremely disappointing feeling for those players right now who left every bit of energy and every piece of their heart out on the field today."
The USA faces the Japan in the third-place game on Saturday (1 a.m. ET on FS1 and telemundo.com/PT: 10 pm Friday).
"Now we're at a point where we have to turn around and refocus because we have an opportunity to earn a medal," said French.
A quarterfinalist two years ago when it fell to North Korea on PKs, the USA won its third U-20 World Cup in 2012. North Korea, champion in 2006, is aiming for its second title when it faces France on Saturday. The USA had opened the tournament with a 0-0 tie against France.
Game Report by Paul Kennedy: USA handed soccer lesson
Nov. 25 in Port Moresby
USA 1 North Korea 2. Goals: Jacobs 88; Yon pen. 50, R. Hyang Sim 91.
USA -- Murphy; Elliston, Otto, Riehl, Jean (Hedge 71), Fox (Watt 66; Petersen 91), Ogle, Jacobs, Cousins (Scarpa 78), Pugh, Sanchez.
North Korea -- Sun, U. Sol Gyong, C. Sol Gyong, W. Jong Sim (R. Kyong Hyang 75), R. Hyang Sim, K. Phyong Hwa (A Snog Ok 95), Yon, Yong, K. Un Hwa (S. Hyang Sim 66), J. Hyo Sim, Hyang (C. Un Hwa 75).
U.S. U-17 boys to face Portugal, Turkey, Brazil
Coach John Hackworth has named a 20-player roster for the U.S. U-17 boys national team's games against Portugal (Wednesday), Turkey (Friday) and Brazil (Sunday) at the 13th annual Nike International Friendlies in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. The games will be broadcast live on ussoccer.com, U.S. Soccer’s Facebook page and U.S. Soccer’s YouTubechannel.
Hackworth’s squad includes three foreign-based players: Carlos Dos Santos (Benfica/Portugal), Dest Sergino (Ajax/Netherlans) and Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain).
U.S. U-17 boys national team
GOALKEEPERS (2): Carlos Joaquim Dos Santos (S.L. Benfica; Philadelphia, Penn.), *Justin Garces (Kendall SC; Miami, Fla.).
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Asensio (Atlanta United FC; Roswell, Ga.), Sergino Dest (Ajax; Almere-stad, Netherlands), Christopher Gloster (New York Red Bulls; Montclair, N.J.), *Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City; Charlotte, N.C.), Carlos Ritaccio (BW Gotschee; Westbury, N.Y.), *James Sands (New York City FC; Rye, N.Y.), *Arturo Vasquez (FC Golden State; Mira Loma, Calif.).
MIDFIELDERS (6): *George Acosta (Weston FC; Hollywood, Fla.), Isaac Angking (New England Revolution; Providence, R.I.), *Christopher Durkin (D.C. United; Glen Allen, Va.), *Blaine Ferri (Solar Chelsea SC; Southlake, Tex.), *Rayshaun McGann (Philadelphia Union; Royal Palm Beach, Fla.), Indiana Vassilev (IMG Academy; Savannah, Ga.)
FORWARDS (5): *Ayomide Akinola (Toronto FC; Brampton, Ont.), *Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United FC; Powder Springs, Ga.), Bryan Reynolds Jr. (FC Dallas; Little Elm, Tex.), *Joshua Sargent (Scott Gallagher Missouri; O’Fallen, Mo.) *Timothy Weah (Paris Saint-Germain F.C.; Rosedale, N.Y.)
* The 12 players who competed at the 2015 Nike Friendlies, when the USA beat the Netherlands (2-1) and lost to Brazil (0-3) and England (2-3).
2016 Nike International Friendlies Schedule
Wednesday, Nov. 30
Brazil vs. Turkey 3:30 p.m. ET
USA vs. Portugal 7 p.m. ET
Portugal vs. Brazil 3:30 p.m. ET
USA vs. Turkey 7 p.m. ET
Sunday, Dec. 4
Turkey vs. Portugal 1:30 p.m. ET
USA vs. Brazil 5 p.m. ET
Josh Perez makes history with Serie A debut
Southern California Josh Perez joined Pennsylvania product Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) as the second player from the 2015 U.S. U-17s to debut in a Europe big five league when the 18-year-old came off the bench for Fiorentina in the 75th minute of Monday's 4-2 loss at Inter Milan. Perez is the youngest of six Americans to play in Italy's Serie A. Perez is the nephew of U.S. Hall of Famer and former U.S. U-14 and U-15 national team coach Hugo Perez.
For more about Josh Perez's debut, the history of Americans in Serie A, and 2015 U.S. U-17s in the pros, read Paul Kennedy's Off the Post column.
Kelley Pulisic is part of ‘Soccer Parenting Virtual Summit’
Kelley Pulisic, the mother of U.S. teen phenom Christian Pulisic, will lead one of 20 educational sessions of the Soccer Parenting Virtual Summit Dec. 2-4. Kelley Pulisic, who played college ball at George Mason, will appear on Saturday (Dec. 3) at 3 p.m. ET with a session titled: “Raising an Exceptional Player and How to Teach Soccer Character to Our Kids.”
Other presenters at the summit, hosted by SoccerParenting.com founder Skye Eddy Bruce, include ENCL president Christian Lavers (Friday, 8 p.m ET), NSCAA Director of Coach Ian Barker (Saturday, 2 p.m. ET), US Youth Soccer Coaching Director Sam Snow (Sunday, 4 p.m. ET) and Women’s World Cup-winning coach Tony DiCicco (Sunday, 5 p.m. ET). Access to the sessions over the weekend is free. Lifetime access is available for a fee.
Have to agree with the comments on the women's U20 game. Although we didn't play well, and were constantly giving the ball to Korea, those hits on our players definitely took a toll. Seems too much of a coincidence that most of those blows included an elbow or forearm to the head. I hope FIFA reviews this game tape. To say the referee left her cards in her pocket for those fouls is kind of you. She certainly didn't mind calling ticky tac fouls on the US when we were about to get something going. Almost seemed at times that she was watching a different game. Felt bad for the girls again, they played their hearts out and left it all on the field. But coaching the girls to hit long balls out of the back just to try and clear the ball, instead of passing a shorter ball to one of our players has just got to stop... You can't keep giving the ball to the opposition and playing defense 75 or 80% of the game. That would wear even supergirl out.
Another reason we need 600,000 Futsal courts. We need radical change. We need new leadership. We need a 21st century master plan. We need to create the USONIAN WAY.... Lets not go backwards. We need to go forwards but that takes innovation and getting rid of the status quo.... The US needs a soccer REVOLUTION.....
ECNL is a travesty..... our coaching environment is also an abomination. We to create a playing environment where players can play king of the court, 24/7/365, no cost, no adult interference and play freely to take risks. Our system in broken and we need a soccer revolution in the US...
Cony, generally I agree - particularly with your last sentence. It's mind boggling that a repressed misogynistic country of 25 mil people can field a women's soccer team that easily waltzes through the world cup (beating the likes of Brazil and Sweden by 2 goals each and totally embarrassing the host country by 6 goals - Okay maybe Papua New Guinea isn't that good) and then beats a country with a population of 320 mil people (a talent pool almost 13 times larger).
So why did North Korea win? It's not because of extraordinary genetic talent. They didn't field 11 Messi and Ronaldo sisters. They did field a team that was better trained, more disciplined and better conditioned than us. That is the product of true national commitment to the sport. OK - the fact that the men's team was jailed and scheduled for execution after a loss to South Korea in the 2010 World Cup, may have given them a bit more motivation than the US players. However, we are one of the wealthiest countries in the world. We should be able to figure out a way to fully fund a national soccer program that recruits and truly develops players from a very young age and fosters the sport in local communities and the inner cities for free, whether that is through private investment or public taxpayer money. We can do better. I agree, time for a soccer revolution.
Amen!!!! The performances have been are pathetic and inexcusable.
They had a professional team of thugs who play together year round, and came out and put a series of dirty hits on the US best players. We had a bunch of first year college players and high school kids. And I wonder how FIFA verifies North Korean birth certificates? And like it or not, we are the Ugly Americans, and refs rarely give us a break. The kind of match leaves you sick to your stomach.