November 5, 2008
SCORELESS IN CINCINNATI
U.S. women play S. Korea to 0-0 tie
CINCINNATI – Nicole Barnhart and Briana Scurry combined for the shutout as the United States and South Korea played to a scoreless draw in front of 5,877 at Paul Brown Stadium on Wednesday evening.
With neither team being able to find the back of the net on the narrow turf playing field, the loudest cheers from the night came during the introduction of Cincinnati native Heather Mitts, who was returning to the area for the first time since winning gold in Beijing. Mitts was the last player to leave the field following the game, signing autographs for nearly 30 minutes following the conclusion of the match.
“We were happy that we were able to keep the ball out of the back of the net,” Mitts said. “A tie obviously isn’t a win, but it’s better than a loss. I wish we could have gotten a win for the crowd tonight. All these fans came out on a school night and hopefully they had a great time, but we would have liked to get the win.”
Midfielder Carli Lloyd missed her first start in all of 2008 with a nagging injury, and combined with the speedy turf, the U.S. attack found limited possession time and had difficulty breaking through the Korean defense.
The closest the U.S. came to finding the back of the net was in the 31st minute, as forward Lindsay Tarpley blasted a shot that ricocheted off the bottom of the crossbar and bounced tantalizingly close to the goal line before bouncing up with backspin and away from the net where South Korea was able to clear.
Minutes later, Kwon Hah Nul was the first to test Barnhart, getting the ball in the area in the 35th minute as the U.S. ‘keeper charged off the line to make the save on the left side of her area. Eight minutes later, it was Park Hee Young testing Barnhart, who was making her seventh start of the year. Park’s shot from 30 yards out dipped just before Barnhart was able to leap and tip it over the crossbar.
At the half, Scurry came on for Barnhart and eight minutes in made a key save to keep the game scoreless. On a free kick, Lee Jang Mi served a bending ball to the back post that Korean captain Kim Yoo Mi headed down to the near post, but Scurry reacted quickly and made a body save on the quick shot.
In the 60th minute, Rachel Buehler came on to replace U.S. captain Christie Rampone, and along with Kate Markgraf, the defensive duo limited South Korea to five shots in the second half.
In the waning moments, the U.S had a final chance to grab the win as Natasha Kai was able to cross the ball from the left corner, but Korea’s Kim Huiyeaong just touched the ball away as a streaking Kacey White was about to one-time a shot at the back post.