The U.S. women’s National Team finished its Victory Tour in front of 33,027 at Soldier Field in Chicago with a 1-1 tie against South Korea, completing the coaching tenure of two-time World Cup winner Jill Ellis.
The game was markedly different from the match on Thursday, which was dominated from start to finish by the U.S. This time, the Koreans were aggressive and physical and controlled much of the half, getting a clever goal in the 34th minute from So-Yun Ji, breaking a 762-minute scoreless streak for the U.S. across seven games. Ji found a small opening at the top of the box and sent a low liner to the far corner of the net, ahead of a diving Alyssa Naeher in goal for the U.S.
That lead didn’t last long, as a Megan Rapinoe corner kick in the 37th minute went all the way across the Korean goal, but was headed in by Carli Lloyd, despite being marked by two Korean defenders! It was Lloyd’s 118th career goal.
The half ended 1-1, with the Koreans having 57% of the possession and leading in shots, 11-9.
The game stayed even well into the second half, with some liberal substitutions, including Ji coming off and a change of keeper. But neither side got close to a goal until a Jessica McDonald header off a corner hit the post in the 82nd minute.
In the 83rd minute, there was a mix-up on a Korean substitution and Hwa-Yeon Son was given a red card, leaving the visitors with 10 players. Mallory Pugh had a chance in the 91st minute for the game-winner, but muffed on the chance and it was saved. Pugh scored in the final minute of stoppage, but she was called offsides. Another wild scrum off an ensuing corner kick, but the U.S. could not find the winning shot.
The U.S. ended with 51% of the possession, but the Koreans had a 19-16 edge in shots, even playing the final 10 minutes short-handed.
Ellis finished her career with the U.S. women with a sparkling 106-7-19 (W-L-T) record, setting the record for the most wins, one more than the late Tony DiCicco (105-8-8) had from 1995-99. Her team ended with a 21-game unbeaten streak and an 18-1-3 record in 2019.
The Victory Tour ended with the U.S. winning four games and tying the final one, and the Americans outscored their opponents by 13-1.
The U.S. has two more friendlies on the books to close out 2019, with the next game coming on 7 November in Columbus vs. Sweden and then on 10 November vs. Costa Rica in Jacksonville. It will the start of a new era, with a new coach. He or she will have big shoes to fill as Ellis leaves with two World Cup championships in her five years.