Alex Morgan

USWNT Aims to Complete Two-Game Sweep of Korea Republic in Cary, N.C.

The USA Women’s National Team has played 13 matches in 2017 and is set to play three more during the fall as this year’s schedule nears completion, with one match remaining against the Korea Republic on Oct. 22 at Sahlen’s Stadium (2 p.m. ET on ESPN).

USWNT will then play two games in November against Canada. The USA is coming off a 3-1 victory against Korea on Oct. 19 in New Orleans as Julie Ertz, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe scored. It was the fourth goal of 2017 for Ertz, the team-leading fifth for Morgan (who has scored in four consecutive WNT matches) and the third of the year for Rapinoe, who tallied twice in the Tournament of Nations during the summer. The 16 games the USA will play this year will tie for the second-most the U.S. WNT has played in a calendar year after the World Cup-Olympic cycle. The only year in which the USA played more (18) was in 1997 during what was part of the lead-up to the 1999 Women’s World Cup hosted in the USA. The October matches against an improving South Korea team are a part of a 2017 schedule that will see the USA play top teams from every Confederation except Africa. The USA is 10-3-0 in 2017 with all three losses (two by 1-0 scores) coming to teams ranked third, fourth and sixth in the world.

The year after the World Cup-Olympic cycle has at times, in the past, been a down year in terms of U.S. WNT scheduling. That is not the case in 2017. The USA has or will face seven of the other top nine teams in the world before the year is done (only North Korea and the European champion Netherlands are absent from the list) and since September of 2015, the USA will have played half (eight countries) of the teams that competed in the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euros , including the Netherlands.

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup that will be contested from June 7-July 7, 2019, in nine cities in France is still on the distant horizon, as is the CONCACAF Qualifying tournament, which will be held about a year from now. The tournament host and teams have not been solidified, but the USA, Canada and Mexico will earn automatic berths into the final eight-team tournament, while the other five nations will have to go through pre-qualifying in their respective regions. From that eight-team tournament, three teams will qualify directly to France while a fourth will enter a two-leg playoff against the third-place team from South America. With just four games left on the 2017 schedule, the USA is focused squarely on the end-goal of 2018, a place among the 24 teams in France.

Forward Tobin Heath (ankle) and defender Taylor Smith (shoulder) had to withdraw from training camp prior to its start after suffering injuries in the NWSL Championship match on Saturday, Oct. 14. Forward Mallory Pugh injured her hamstring at the end of the first half of the USA’s 3-1 victory against South Korea on Oct. 19 in New Orleans and did not travel to North Carolina with the team. In addition, midfielder Andi Sullivan, who saw her first WNT action in almost a year when she played the first half against Korea on Oct. 19, has returned to Stanford to play in her college game this weekend.

North Carolina Courage midfielder McCall Zerboni, who plays her club’s home games at Sahlen’s Stadium where the USA will face South Korea on Oct. 22, has been called up to give the USA 19 players on the roster, of which 18 will suit up for the match. This is the first WNT call-up for the 30-year-old Zerboni, who has played for seven different professional clubs in the USA during the WPS and the NWSL. Zerboni has played a crucial role in her club’s success over the past two seasons while partnering in the center midfield with Samantha Mewis. Zerboni helped the Western New York Flash to the NWSL league title in 2016 and after the club moved to North Carolina for this season, helped the Courage win the NWSL Shield and earn a place in the championship game. She was named to the 2017 NWSL Best XI. She played her college soccer at UCLA and was a member of the USA’s Youth National Teams as a teenager.

Of the 22 players originally on the roster for the matches against Korea Republic, 19 were with the U.S. team for the two wins against New Zealand in September. For this roster, Ellis added co-captain Carli Lloyd, who is still working her way back from an ankle injury that kept her out of the New Zealand matches and the last five matches of the NWSL season. Lloyd, the reigning two-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year who is up for the award again this fall, is the USA’s most capped player with 243 games played and highest scorer with 97 career goals. She played the final 13 minutes of the 3-1 win vs. Korea on Oct. 19 in her first WNT action since Aug. 3 against Japan at the Tournament of Nations.

 

USA roster to play Korea Republic

Goalkeepers:

18- Jane Campbell (Houston Dash;1/0),
24- Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 13/0),
1- Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 21/0)

Defenders:

7- Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 10/0),
8- Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars: 54/12),
11- Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars; 2/0),
5- Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC; 102/2),
4- Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City; 132/0),
7- Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 16/0)

Midfielders:

9- Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC, 40/4),
10- Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash; 243/97);
20- Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC; 31/5),
3- Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 31/5),
McCall Zerboni (NC Courage; 0/0)

Forwards:

19- Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC; 56/22),
13- Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride: 131/78);
23- Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars; 93/43),
15- Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign; 126/34),
12- Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 12/3)

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