This Saturday, the USMNT (US Men’s National Soccer Team) will face South Korea at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, Calif., in a preparation match for the upcoming World Cup. The last time USA played South Korea was at the 2002 World Cup in Korea.
What’s at stake?
Pride and bragging rights. The match is not FIFA sanctioned and will not affect the rankings of either teams. However, just because this is not an official FIFA match, don’t expect it to be a lighthearted exhibition.
This highly anticipated match has sold out seats at Stub Hub Center, LA Galaxy’s home stadium, and fans from both sides will be in attendance; Los Angeles has the highest population of Korean in the United States.
The two sides do not have much of a history between each other; USA has an overall record of 1 win, 2 losses, 3 ties against S. Korea. However, each time these two countries meet, they have never failed to provide an exciting match.
The last match-up, nearly 12 years ago at the 2002 World Cup in Korea, resulted in a 1-1 draw. Los Angeles Galaxy’s Landon Donovan was a part of the match, and was also named “best young player” in the tournament.
USA struck first when Clint Mathis, found the back of the net in the 24th minute.
However, Korea responded off of a set play and Ahn Jung Hwan headed in a goal to even the score. Afterwards the S. Korean side choreograph a goal celebration that snubbed USA speed skater Apollo Ohno, who was controversially awarded the gold medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics after a S. Korean skater was disqualified.
Don’t expect Saturday to be any friendlier. After an embarrassing 4-0 loss to Mexico on Wednesday in San Antonio, S. Korea will definitely be looking for a better result against USA. The Korean side will be without their big names, such as Ki Sung Yueng, Son Heung Min and Koo Ja Cheol, who are currently playing abroad in Europe. However, South Korea’s head coach, Hong Myung Bo, has put his faith in his young squad and expect them to be ready to play on Saturday.
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmenn finalized the 22-man roster for the last part of the January training camp. In addition, the team spent 12 days training in Brazil in preparation for the World Cup. Klinsmenn will be able to gauge his team’s progress at Saturday’s match and figure out areas that need fine tuning before heading to Brazil.
U.S. Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (3) : Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (7) : Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Harrington (Portland Timbers), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
MIDFIELDERS (8) : Eric Alexander (New York Red Bulls), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4 ): Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
The match is set to kickoff at 2 p.m. PT, will broadcast live on ESPN2.