by Brian Turrel
The pent-up, explosive energy in the massed fans at sold-out Children’s Mercy Park needed just one goal from the U.S. women’s national soccer team to set it off. The goal never came, but the excitement hummed on throughout the fast-paced, scoreless draw against the the South Korea women’s national team.
The U.S. had plenty of chances throughout the match, taking 19 shots and getting eight of them on frame, forcing South Korea goalkeeper Yoon Young-geul to save shot after shot to preserve the shutout.
The U.S. got good opportunities early on crosses from Megan Rapinoe on the left side to Alex Morgan in the middle.
The best chance in the first half came from Morgan in the 20th minute. She took a pass from Tobin Heath and dribbled past a defender to go one-on-one against Yoon, but the goalkeeper closed down the space and covered the shot.
A cross from Rapinoe in the 30th minute led to a flurry of three shots in front of the South Korea goal, but Yoon knocked away the first attempt, and two others were blocked before Korea cleared the ball.
Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, also the goalkeeper for Kansas City’s NWSL squad, was not under heavy fire, but made a diving save to stave off a South Korea shot in the 35th minute.
At the half, U.S. head coach and Kansas City resident Vlatko Andonovski subbed off Rapinoe and two others to get more of his team into the action. Kristie Mewis and Sophia Smith came into the match and continued the offensive intensity from the whistle.
The second half’s best chance came in the 50th minute, when Mewis blasted a shot that narrowly cleared the crossbar.
In the 63rd minute, U.S. team icon Carli Lloyd entered the game, earning a thunderous round of applause. Lloyd recently announced her retirement from competitive soccer at the end of the month, making this her penultimate match.
In the final minutes, the U.S. women crossed the ball repeatedly into the center, trying to connect with Lloyd for a game-winner. The connections were narrowly missed or were cleared away by the Korea defenders, and the match ended with a draw.
This was a “friendly” between the two squads, that is, the result doesn’t count toward the World Cup or other international competitions. The two sides will meet up again on Oct. 26 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The match also showcased Kansas City for officials from FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, which is evaluating potential sites for the 2026 World Cup. The prospective World Cup match would take place in Arrowhead Stadium, and the event would make extensive use of Children’s Mercy Park and the Pinnacle training facility in Kansas City, Kansas.