The USWNT highlighted its dominance with a 3-0 victory against South Korea at Allianz Field. The win offered a promising glimpse of their form ahead of the Paris Olympics. New coach Emma Hayes has led the team to another success, featuring both younger and older players.

Rose Lavelle, a stalwart of the USWNT, marked her 100th appearance for the national team. Lavelle is known for scoring crucial goals, including the game-winner in the 2019 Women’s World Cup final. Witnessing 16-year-old Lily Yohannes score her first international goal made her centenary match unforgettable, in addition to her goal.

“I will always remember my 100th cap because it was Lily’s first cap and first goal,” Lavelle said, emphasizing the emotional significance of the night.

Yohannes, making her debut, netted the final goal of the match in the 82nd minute. Subbing in ten minutes earlier, she calmly converted a corner kick. That way, she secured her place as the third-youngest goal scorer in USWNT history.

Raised in Virginia and later moving to the Netherlands, Yohannes remains eligible to play for both the US and Dutch national teams; until she participates in a competitive international match.

How did USWNT play in second South Korea friendly?

Emma Hayes, in her second match in charge, used the friendly to experiment with her lineup ahead of finalizing the 18-player roster for the Paris Olympics. Hayes, previously successful with Chelsea’s women’s team, made nine changes to the starting lineup from their earlier 4-0 win against South Korea. One significant change saw Crystal Dunn return to her former position as a forward, a role she hadn’t started since 2017.

Dunn’s return to the attacking front was marked by an early goal in the 13th minute, capitalizing on a deflected cross from left-back Jenna Nighswonger. This goal, Dunn’s 25th international score and her first since 2018 set the tone for the match.

“It’s about being versatile and being adaptable,” Dunn said, reflecting on her role change. Her versatility was on display as she shifted back to defense after the hour mark to accommodate the introduction of young forwards Trinity Rodman, Mallory Swanson, and Sophia Smith.

Sophia Smith, another key player, scored in the 67th minute, doubling the U.S. lead. Her goal followed a skillful backheel pass from Swanson, showcasing the depth and synergy of the team.

Prepared for Olympics

Hayes’ focus was not only on winning but also on assessing her roster and implementing her tactical vision. The match against South Korea provided a platform to evaluate players in various positions and combinations. It is crucial for refining strategies ahead of the Olympics.

The team’s preparations will continue with two more friendlies in July against Mexico and Costa Rica. These matches serve as final rehearsals before the Olympic group stage, where the USWNT will face Germany, Australia, and Zambia.

Reflecting on the week, Hayes expressed satisfaction with the team’s progress but acknowledged the need for further development. “Between now and next camp, [we’ve] got to analyze all the things we’ve got to get absolutely right leading into the Olympics,” she said.

The USWNT’s victory over South Korea, featuring standout performances and strategic experimentation, underscores their readiness for the upcoming Olympic challenge. Hayes’ combination of experienced veterans and bright rookies bodes well for the team’s Paris gold quest.