Abby Wambach scored her 156th international goal in second half stoppage time and the United States women’s national team defeated Korea Republic 4-1 on Saturday in front of 13,035 fans at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
Wambach’s goal in the 93rd minute brings her within two of tying Mia Hamm’s all-time record of 158 international goals. Wambach scored on a penalty kick drawn by Alex Morgan, who was taken down in the box by captain Shim Seoyeon.
“It’s good for her [Abby] to get a goal and she’s getting closer to that mark now,” U.S. coach Tom Sermanni said. “And hopefully — hopefully — we can get that out of the way sooner rather than later and then things will get easier for her.”
Boston-area native Kristie Mewis (pictured right) opened the scoring in the 3rd minute of the game with a simple tap in after Sydney Leroux beat her defender on the right side and sent in a low cross that made its way to the back post, where the 22-year-old from Hanson, Mass., calmly slotted it in.
“It was the best feeling in the entire world,” Mewis said. “It was just amazing to be able to play in front of my family and friends. You know, Syd made a great run down the endline and she did all the work. I just kind of tapped it in, I was there, and it was just the best thing in the entire world.”
Lauren Cheney extended the home team’s lead in the 7th minute and looked like the rout was on at Gillette, but the South Koreans shook off their nerves and pulled within one goal in the 26th minute. Cho Sohyun fired a shot past Nicole Barnhart off a nice pass from Jeoun Eunha that followed a wonderful combination of passes from Korea Republic.
Midfielder Carli Lloyd scored the United States’ third goal on a low, long-range rocket from 32 yards that slipped past Korea Republic goalkeeper Kim Jungmi in the 57th minute.
Hope Solo also made her return to the national team, replacing Barnhart at the start of the second half. The 45 minutes were Solo’s first for the U.S. since Feb. 13 after recovering from left wrist surgery.
“First 45 in five months,” Solo said.” I still have some work to do, playing on turf. I better learn how to play quickly on turf, since the 2015 World Cup. My kicking was a little off, and distribution, and things like that. But it felt good to be out here, being behind the back line, seeing players like Mewis jump into the defense and just play like a star; I was proud of that.”
University of Virginia midfielder Morgan Brian, 20, replaced Cheney in the 77th minute to earn her first senior international cap.
***Additional reporting from Meg Linehan in Foxborough, Mass.
– U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report –
Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Korea Republic
Date: June 15, 2013
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Gillette Stadium; Foxborough, Mass.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Weather: 71 degrees, sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 2 4
KOR 1 0 1
USA – Kristie Mewis (Sydney Leroux) 3rd minute
USA – Lauren Cheney (Tobin Heath) 7
KOR – Cho Sohyun (Jeoun Eunha) 26
USA – Carli Lloyd (Heather O’Reilly) 57
USA – Abby Wambach (penalty kick) 90+3
USA : 18-Nicole Barnhart (1-Hope Solo, 46); 3-Christie Rampone, 19-Rachel Buehler (capt.) (11-Ali Krieger, 70), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 8-Kristie Mewis; 9-Heather O’Reilly, 10-Carli Lloyd (16-Yael Averbuch, 67), 12-Lauren Cheney (25-Morgan Brian, 77), 17-Tobin Heath; 2-Sydney Leroux (20-Abby Wambach, 46), 13-Alex Morgan
Substitutions Not Used: 6-Crystal Dunn, 14-Whitney Engen
Head coach: Tom Sermanni
KOR: 1-Kim Jungmi, 4-Shim Seoyeon, 6-Lim Seonjoo, 20-Kim Hyeri (14-Kwon Hahnul, 80), 5-Lee Sejin, 8-Cho Sohyun, 15-Kim Narae (13-Lee Mina, 71), 17-Park Heeyoung (22-Lee Jungeun, 62; 3-Jeong Younga, 87), 10-Ji Soyun, 12-Yoo Younga (2-Kim Jihye, 90), 18-Jeoun Eunha (16-Kim Sangeun, 54)
Substitutions Not Used: 19-Shin Jiyoung, 21-Yoon Younggeul
Head coach: Yoon Dukyeo
Stats Summary: USA / KOR
Shots: 21 / 8
Shots on Goal: 13 / 4
Saves: 3 / 8
Corner Kicks: 7 / 2
Fouls: 3 / 12
Offside: 4 / 1
Referee: Kari Seitz (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Veronica Perez (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Marie Josee Charbonneau (CAN)
Fourth Official: Christina Unkel (USA)