Thursday's USA-South Korea women's friendly, which ended in a 0-0 tie, marked the end of a couple of remarkable streaks:
-- The USA's 22 straight wins at home; and
-- The USA's 60 straight home games with at least one goal scored.
The USA actually played quite well -- it was a rare home friendly in which its opposition posed problems.
South Korea is coached by 60-year-old Englishman Colin Bell
, who has coached women's soccer for the last decade and worked for teams in Germany, Norway and Ireland before becoming the South Korea coach in 2019.
"They're very disciplined, well coached," U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski
said after the game on his media call. "Colin has done a tremendous job ever since he got there. You can see that they've been getting better and better."
South Korea has one world-class player in Chelsea's Ji So-yun
, who was dangerous on the counterattack, and a defense that was relatively composed. In the first half, turnovers gave the USA a couple of great chances it failed to capitalize on, but South Korea generally forced the USA to earn its chances.
"I actually thought we did a very good job in adapting to everything that thrown at us in this game," Andonovski said. "Obviously, we could've done things a little bit better in the final third, created few good opportunities and just hope we score on some of those."
It was the USA's bad luck that it ran into a hot goalkeeper in Yoon Young-geul
, who made eight saves.
“Today she was their best player,” Andonovski said. “It was good for us that we created those opportunities. If it takes something like the saves she had in the game, so be it. That’s all we can do.”
A huge positive for the USA was the play of young wingers Sophia Smith
and Mallory Pugh
in the second half. Smith, in particular, gave the Korean defenders fits with her dribbling.
"The teams that we face are going to be organized, defend and bring numbers in front of their box," Andonovski added. "It's going to take the best out of us in order to break them down. So, overall, very happy with the performance and very happy with the game as a whole. I feel like this is something we needed."