Diving to his right, AD Franch pushed back a screaming half volley to the bottom corner of his goal. The shot deflected first, she rebounded and cradled the moving ball.
The Kansas City Chapter of the American Outlaws roared the approval of the North Stand at Children’s Mercy Park – territory usually occupied by Sporting KC’s fan section, the Cauldron.
For the American Outlaws, the group of passionate supporters who follow United States national soccer teams to games across the country, this was an opportunity to cheer for their goalie’s rescue – for Franch, his first stop. official when she first started in her hometown for the United States Women’s National Team. .
Franch, a native of Salina, Kansas, and plays for club KC NWSL, got the start and drew applause throughout his performance as the USWNT tied Korea Republic 0-0 on Thursday night.
“KC showed up as I expected, and I hope that continues for the women’s game and KC WoSo right now,” said Franch. “That’s what we want in this city as we continue to try to get a bid (for the World Cup) here in the city. I think it’s important to recognize that the fans are here and that this city is something special to play for and I’m delighted to be here to do so.
The tie extended a 61-game unbeaten streak at home for the United States
Franch made only one save, in the 35th minute on a Sel-Gi Jang shot, but it was the only one that was required of him. Korea never really attacked the American goal.
The game also marked a special first for USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski, who first coached a national team game in his hometown of Kansas City.
“I felt like everywhere I turned I knew someone,” Andonovski said. “It was good and I’m glad I put on a good show. I just wish we paid off this wonderful crowd with a nice win, but I promise that next time we come back here we will score some goals.
The final score was undoubtedly closer than he would have liked against an opponent ranked 18th in the world. But a starting USWNT frontline that included American heroes such as Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath and Alex Morgan was unable to break through the strong Korean defense.
“These are the type of opponents and games that we look forward to playing because they create different challenges and multiple challenges throughout the game,” said Andonovski. “It will take the best of us to solve and overcome challenges. “
Most of the pressure from the Americans on Korea came from the American midfielder, especially Lindsey Horan, who was honored for making her 100th appearance for the national team before the game. At one point, she sent a curler 20 yards off the left post; Six minutes later, his head at close range was saved by goalkeeper Young-Guel Yoon.
Heath and Rapinoe were both replaced at halftime by the USWNT “new guard” of Sophia Smith and Mallory Pugh. Fifteen minutes into the second half, Morgan was also replaced by Carli Lloyd, who made his penultimate game for the United States. She has announced that she will retire at the end of the season.
The decision to remove Rapinoe and Heath from the game was planned in advance, Andonovski said. Heath was coming off a weekend game with his club team, Arsenal, while Rapinoe is still recovering from an injury.
Smith added an exciting dimension to the American front line with an aggressive and offensive side.
“She’s a lot more offensive and more direct with her runs, and more specific with her runs, and we’ve seen that since her arrival,” said Andonovski.
While Andonovsky viewed the game as more than just a retirement tour for Lloyd, many of the 18,467 sold-out spectators came to see Lloyd play here one last time. This was evident in the roar that was heard as she stepped into the game and every time she touched the ball near the Korean box.
The 39-year-old striker had a great chance in the 76th minute, but was saved by Yoon.
The USWNT’s trio of second-half forwards – Smith and Pugh, in particular – looked more creative than their first-half predecessors. But neither did they manage to score a winning goal for the KC crowd.
“Our end product was poor and I think we could have done better,” said Horan. “My header was crap. But again, credit to her (Yoon, the goalkeeper of the Republic of Korea).
“I kind of look at our team and I think there were a few final assists we could have gotten at the end, but they did a great job today.”
The USWNT can make amends Tuesday against Korea in St. Paul, Minnesota. This match will be Lloyd’s 316th and last game for his country.
This story was originally published October 21, 2021 9:27 pm.