U.S. Men's Soccer Team defeats Korea Republic in friendly, 2-0

February 2, 2014

Carson, Calif. -- The United States Men’s National Team hosted the Korea Republic on Saturday at the StubHub Center in an international friendly leading up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. fielded a team comprised of most of its usual starters, including Omar Gonzalez, Kyle Beckerman, Graham Zusi, Landon Donovan, and Chris Wondolowski.

With a sold-out crowd witnessing the game, the U.S. gave the fans an early goal when Wondolowski scored after just four minutes. Graham Zusi set things in motion on the play when he crossed the ball in from the right side and Brad Davis volleyed it towards the goal. The shot was saved, but the rebound went to the well-positioned Wondolowski, who headed the ball in for a 1-0 lead.

The Korea Republic fought back and nearly equalized minutes later with a corner kick that the U.S. almost put into their own net and may have even crossed the line. Lee-Keun Ho also got a shot in the box, but it went over the crossbar.

In the second half, the Korea Republic earned a free-kick in the 53rd minute from about 25 yards out. Instead of lofting the ball in, the Korea Republic took a shot to the nearside of the goal that Nick Rimando easily dealt with on the save.

The Korea Republic continued to put pressure on the U.S. with a cross into the box in the 58th minute of play. Min-Woo Kim got his head on the ball, but the shot went straight into the hands of Rimando.

In the 60th minute, the U.S. got a second goal when Graham Zusi passed off to Wondolowski with his back-heel. Wondolowski fired a shot to the near post and scored past the Korea Republic’s Sung-Ryong Jung to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead.

Immediately following the goal, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann substituted out multiple players, including the game’s only goal-scorer, Chris Wondolowski for the Seattle Sounder’s Eddie Johnson.

The Korea Republic’s Shin-Wook Kim showed his toughness and willingness to compete when he almost scored over the USA’s defense with a header in the 84th minute.  Kim made several other plays in the second half, but the Korean team would be shutout on the day.

The game was a good fixture for both sides because the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil is just around the corner this summer.

After the game, U.S. head-coach Jurgen Klinsmann talked about the defense playing well on the day, praised Wondolowski’s effort and play, and noted that the players competed hard in training and games as they prepared for Brazil.

Players speaking after the game also talked about how the team continues to gel and how these experiences are valuable for the World Cup competition. The 2014 World Cup starts in mid-June and the U.S. is up against Germany, Ghana, and Portugal in their group.

The U.S. will face Ukraine next in another friendly set for March 5.

News and Notes:

  • The USA moved to 28-10-7 under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
  • New York Red Bulls midfielder Eric Alexander earned his second-career cap as he entered the game in the 82nd minute for Zusi.
  • The USA improved to 11-3-4 when Donovan is the team captain.

By Brian Kowalski
Staff Reporter for The Daily Sports Herald

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