The USA had to wait till the second half to get on the scoreboard and it all began deep in midfield when Carli Lloyd picked out Abby Wambach on the left with a long diagonal pass. The striker cut in winger like manner before lofting a cross towards the far post as Amy Rodriguez and Lauren Cheney waited in the box.
It was Cheney stepping away who headed the ball across goal to the far left corner and away from the outstretched hand of Hong Myong Hui for the USA’s first strike. This was the 54th minute.
Eighteen minutes later the USA doubled the lead following a cross by Cheney which collected by Ali Krieger whose strongly hit cross bounced off the crossbar and came back into play. Rachel Buehler was the first to get her head on the loose ball and played in the direction of Lloyd who held off a couple of defenders before laying a pass to Buehler who squeezed in a low swerving shot through traffic and past Hui.
The Koreans showed signs of fatigue in the heat with the US attack exerting constant pressure in the second half and were nowhere nearly as sharp in the first half which was very evenly contested. Cheney had three opportunities but could not crack Hui’s composure. Lloyd also came close.
The Koreans were similarly attack minded moving the ball with ease especially down the right with Kim Su Gyong. The winger finally got the better of let back Amy LePeilbet and sent in a hard low cross which was intercepted by Shannon Boxx tracking back with the ball springing free to Kim whose shot towards the near post was saved by a diving Hope Solo. The US goalkeeper was called into action a little later keeping out Jo Yun Mi.
The US took control in the second half and wore the Koreans down with their high pressing attack before the defense was finally breached through Cheney and Buehler. The Koreans did have one good chance when Ri Ye Gyong hit a 25 yard piledriver that skimmed over the top of the crossbar.
Pia Sundhage’s squad had seven players with Alex Morgan a 79th minute substitute for Heather O’ Reilly joining Cheney, Krieger, Buehler, LePeilbet and Rodriguez making their World Cup debut. The US coach was pleased at the way the match panned out.
” I’m very happy with the way we scored the goals but not only that, the way we played, being so sharp defending. It’s a good start to the World Cup.”
The USA faces Colombia next and from what one could gather from their match against Sweden show a lot of talent but lack defensive discipline. Today, however the US can savour their three points against a tough opponent.