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USWNT vs. Korea Republic: Brace Galore!

It is the dawn of a new age, folks. Emma Hayes’ first United States Women’s National Team game was accompanied by a sold-out stadium and millions of Americans, hopeful for their national team to be feared across the world once again.

First Half

Unlike previous games, the USWNT started the game off with a high press instead of waiting for the opponent to reveal their strategy for the game. Korea had the same strategy that many other teams have when facing the USWNT: hold the back line and exploit a mistake in the midfield to score an easy goal. This game would be different, though.

Korea had a strong defense and the defenders were getting the ball out of the box amidst their goalkeeper’s mistakes. However, in the 34th minute, USWNT defender Naomi Girma ran up the midfield and passed the ball to Sophia Smith, who passed it to Mallory Swanson who found the back of Korea’s net. This would be Swanson’s first goal for the USWNT since February 2023.

Four minutes after getting the lead, the United States received a corner. With the set piece ready, Catarina Macario perfectly placed the ball in front of the net for defender, Tierna Davidson, to head in. Davidson had not scored a goal for club or country in five years, but this would not be her last goal in this game.

Second Half

Three minutes into the second half, the USWNT was awarded another corner, and with nobody marking Davidson, Swanson crossed the ball right to her for another header. This goal would make Davidson the first USWNT defender to score two goals since 2019 when Julie Ertz did the same.

After securing the three-goal lead, Hayes subbed in four players, including defender Sam Staab. Her substitution for Davidson would make this her first appearance for the USWNT and she received a standing ovation. Korbin Albert also subbed in for captain Lindsey Horan, and she decided to give the captain’s armband to 23-year-old, Naomi Girma.

Shortly after the handful of substitutions, Mallory Swanson would find the back of the net again, and she too, had scored two goals. After that, the USWNT midfield would not let Korea get control of the ball. The final whistle blew after 90 minutes, and Emma Hayes received her first win as the USWNT manager.

Player of The Match and Other Tidbits

My player of this match is Tierna Davidson. Not only did she defend the goal perfectly, but she also had two outstanding goals off of set pieces. The USWNT needed more goals from set pieces, so her tenacity and performance in this game reveal what is next for this young team.

The midfield also played very well in this game. Midfielders truly control the pace of the game and the USWNT midfielders have cleaned up a lot since Hayes’ entrance as manager. Passes are still sloppy, but the team becomes more precise once the game progresses. The team’s next match is on June 4th. After this performance, they seem unstoppable.



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