USWNT gets the sweep against the Korea Republic
The U.S. Women's National Team earns the victory in Cary, NC | Source: Brad Smith - ISI Photos/US Soccer

The United States returned to international play after a 3-1 win against the Korea Republic on Thursday night in New Orleans. Cary, North Carolina had an opportunity to host the international friendly between the United States and the Korea Republic at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park, home of the NWSL's North Carolina Courage, and the 9,727 in attendance were not disappointed to a dominating performance as the USWNT earned the 6-0 victory.

First Half, All USWNT

It didn't take long for the Americans to get the scoring gears in order. Three minutes in, Sam Mewis scored with a header off an Abby Dahlkemper corner kick, electrifying the North Carolina crowd as they witnessed the Courage teammates connect for the opening goal. The USWNT kept pressing and maintained the majority of possession, continuously keeping the Korean Republic defense on guard.

In the 20th minute, Lindsey Horan sent a long ball into the box, which Korea's goalkeeper Kang blocked, but the deflection bounced right in front of Mewis. The midfielder had no trouble sending it into the back of the net, recording a brace for a 2-0 lead.

Thirty minutes in, the USWNT had an 8-1 advantage on shots, and five minutes after the half-hour mark, Christen Press would make it 3-0, bending it into the upper 90 from the top of the box after an Alex Morgan pass.

Morgan and Press connect for the third goal of the day | Source: Brad Smith - ISI Photos/US Soccer
Morgan and Press connect for the third goal of the day | Source: Brad Smith - ISI Photos/US Soccer

Korea Republic would have one chance to get a goal from Lee Geummin after she broke past the U.S. backline, putting her one on one with Ashlyn Harris, but the Orlando Pride keeper, who made her first start since April, blocked the shot. That would keep the U.S with a comfortable lead going into halftime. But just before the end of the half, in stoppage time, Julie Ertz would head in another goal on a set piece for the U.S, making it 4-0. 

Second Half, All USWNT Still

Satisfied with her team's first-half performance, Jill Ellis made plenty of changes to the starting line-up in the second half: Jane Campbell for Ashlyn Harris; McCall Zerboni for Becky Sauerbrunn, becoming the oldest USWNT player at 30 years old to earn her first international cap; Allie Long for Sam Mewis; Megan Rapinoe for Christen Press, Crystal Dunn for Alex Morgan, and Carli Lloyd for Casey Short.

The USWNT could have left North Carolina content with a 4-0 victory, but with a full 45 minutes left to play, the U.S. made the best of it, adding two more goals. Lynn Williams scored in the 61st minute with an easy tap-in from a Rapinoe pass, and Long found an opportunity in the 83rd minute after a pass from her fellow Portland Thorns teammate Lindsey Horan to give the U.S. the commanding 6-0 victory.

Another Win, Another Confidence Boost

These are the types of wins that give the USWNT a confidence boost as they get ready to close out the 2017 calendar year with two more games left to play. After a year that began with the three-back system experimentation that was a failure for the USWNT, head coach Jill Ellis has switched to a 4-3-3 system, using Julie Ertz as the central midfielder, and it has yielded much better results. The 6-0 victory improves the USWNT to 11-3-0 for 2017.

The United States closes out 2017 in November with a home and away series against fifth-ranked Canada.