With only a week left before the start of the Women's World Cup, this was not what the United States had in mind for their final warm up game.
A compact South Korea team stifled the US attack for most of the night and a strong performance from Korea's keeper Kim Jung-mi were enough to hold the Americans to a 0-0 draw in Harrison, NJ.
After a slow start to the game, the US started to find dangerous opportunities towards the middle of the half. Carli Lloyd stole the ball in the middle of Korea's half and sent a swerving shot wide as it tailed away from the goal. After a scramble in the Korean penalty area, Sydney LeRoux chipped a close range shot that bounced a yard wide of the post. Korean keeper Kim Jung-mi was then called into action just before the half-hour mark to claim a cross with Abby Wambach lurking underneath.
In the 36th minute, Meghan Klingenberg sent in a dangerous cross to the back post that missed a rising Wambach by only a inch as the Americans searched for a breakthrough. Minutes later, LeRoux allowed a through ball to run forward and beat her defender to get off a sliding shot only for it to find the side netting.
However, the patient build-up play from South Korea was prominent throughout the first half, and while Korea rarely tested Hope Solo in the American goal their possession prevented the US from maintaining consistent attacking pressure. The USA had only five touches inside the Korea penalty area in the first half.
While the US struggled to find chances early in the first half, they started the second forcing Kim to make a double save five minutes in. First on LeRoux from the center of the box and then held onto the follow up shot from Christian Press.
Solo was finally called into action when she was forced to tip a ball over the bar for a corner in the 54th, however the ensuing corner was cleared by the US.
Jill Ellis made several changes near the hour mark with Christie Rampone, Amy Rodriguez and Tobin Heath replacing Julie Johnston, Wambach and Lauren Holiday respectfully. Immediately after LeRoux sprinted forward to fire a shot right at Kim as the Korean keeper maintained her shutout.
South Korea committed their first foul of the game 75 minutes in, denying the US any chances on dangerous set piece plays in the match as well. Korean keeper Kim fumbled a ball after going up to catch a US cross, but was able to corral it after a couple of tries to prevent a mistake and give away an easy goal.
In stoppage time, Heather O'Reilly beat a passive Kim to the ball following a long free kick from Heath but her header was up and over the crossbar amidst protests of a foul from the Korean defenders and keeper. Hope Solo made a diving parry as South Korea's best chance was curling towards the far post but that would be the last attack of the game as the referee signaled full time.
It was not the overall performace the United States was looking for in their final tune-up game. After many months of lackluster performances, including a 2-0 loss to France, the US had rebounded with better matches with wins against Mexico and Ireland but their were still questions about the consistency of the American attack. Today's draw will not help quell those issues as the US is set to kick off group play in the World Cup next week.
While they were stymied all day by a strong effort from Korean keeper Kim Jung-mi, even the quality chances created by the USA seemed rather tame, as most of the shots were hit straight at Kim. Despite a few late hiccups from Kim, her overall presence to command her area was strong as the US were forced to hit crosses over the packed Korean defense with little success.
Korea were forced to make an early change in the first half when Park Hee-Young suffered a separated shoulder after a shoulder challenge from Ali Kreiger caused her to land awkwardly on the ground. Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe did not feature in the game as they were resting injuries ahead of the start of the World Cup. Even with two key players missing, the United States would have preferred a better overall performance in their last send off match.
The USA begins Group D play on June 8th against Australia while South Korea squares off against Brazil to start their Group E campaign on June 9th.