United States
Emma Hayes' first camp as USWNT coach ends with resounding win
United States

Emma Hayes' first camp as USWNT coach ends with resounding win

Updated Jun. 4, 2024 11:42 p.m. ET

ST. PAUL, Minnesota — And just like that, Emma Hayes' first camp as the United States women's national team has come to an end.

The USWNT beat South Korea 3-0 at Allianz Field on Tuesday night amid steady rain and muggy conditions in what was the final match before Hayes names a roster for the Paris Olympics.

Crystal Dunn, Sophia Smith and 16-year-old Lily Yohannes, who earned her first USWNT cap in this match, scored terrific goals.


As promised, Hayes shook up the starting lineup quite a bit, with nine changes from Saturday's 4-0 win in Colorado — captain Lindsey Horan and Jenna Nighswonger were the only holdovers. Hayes went with a front line that had never played together before in Jaedyn Shaw, Alex Morgan and Dunn. Rose Lavelle earned her 100th cap playing as the No. 10, while Emily Sonnett started at center back alongside Sam Staab, making her first ever start for the USWNT.

Hayes said Monday that it was important to her for every player to have an opportunity to show how they've been interpreting the information and principles that have been taught this week, especially as the Olympics roster selection nears.

Perhaps nobody took that more to heart than Yohannes, who has still not committed to play for the USWNT (she is also eligible to play for the Netherlands). This was her second U.S. call up, but first appearance. Less than 10 minutes after coming onto the pitch, she scored off a low cross from Trinity Rodman in the 82nd minute to give the U.S. its third goal of the night. 

Here are some takeaways from the match:

Play of the game

In the 64th minute, Hayes made her first substitution, which brought Rodman, Smith and Mallory Swanson into the game.

In the 67th minute, they combined for a goal that will be indicative of what's to come from this team under Hayes' stewardship.

Rodman intercepted a pass just past midfield and immediately dribbled toward the goal with pace. She laid a pass off to Swanson, who was sprinting alongside her, near the penalty spot. Swanson flicked the ball behind her for an onrushing Smith, who ran it down and beat a Korean defender and the goalkeeper before finishing with a low shot into the back of the net.

The impressive sequence put the U.S. up 2-0 and showed the kind of lethal attack that can be expected from this group.

Turning point

Goalkeeper Casey Murphy made a clutch save in the 30th minute to preserve the USWNT's then-narrow lead. South Korea was awarded a free kick just outside the 18-yard box. Ji Soyun, who previously played for Hayes at Chelsea and is very close with the new U.S. coach, curved her shot around the USWNT wall and would have scored had it not been for Murphy's diving save.

With the Olympics roster limited to 18 players, that means there are only two goalkeepers. Alyssa Naeher missed this camp due to an injury, but Hayes said this week that she knows "exactly who Alyssa Naeher is" and doesn't seem to need to see too much else from her.

"Been an established goalkeeper for a number of years," Hayes said of Naeher. "An injury prevented her from being here. If she wasn't injured, she'd for sure be in this camp."

Assuming Naeher will be healthy in time for the Olympics, and signs points toward that being the case, the three goalkeepers in this camp are competing for one backup spot. Jane Campbell played in the first match, Murphy played the full 90 minutes on Tuesday, while Aubrey Kingsbury remained on the bench.

Key stat

Dunn started at forward for the national team for the first time since July 30, 2017. And to celebrate, she scored the game's opening goal.

In the 13th minute, Morgan dribbled the ball across midfield with patience while Nighswonger made a run down the left wing. Morgan played Nighswonger, who beat her defender and then served a ball across the box that Dunn, her Gotham FC teammate, got on the end of.

Dunn has notoriously played left back for the national team, which hasn't always sat well with her. She told reporters on Monday that she found out that Hayes named her a forward in this camp when everyone else did.

"It's cool," Dunn said. "I think it's something that I take a lot of pride in. My career has been a little different than most. It's a blessing and a curse, I think, in many moments, but I feel honored that I'm trusted to be able to be versatile. I think that speaks a lot to who I am as a player, who I am as a person, who I am as a teammate. And I never try to play like anyone else.

"I can only be Crystal Dunn and when I was named as a forward, I was like, cool. Let me just tap into what that means for me and being the most authentic version of myself I can be in that role."

This was also the first goal Dunn has scored for the national team since becoming a mom in May 2022. Dunn was also given the captain's armband when Horan was subbed out of the match in the second half.

What's next for the USWNT?

Hayes will name the 18-player Olympics roster later this month. In the interim, players will go back to their respective clubs and continue trying to state their cases for why they should make the team. 

Once the roster has been selected, the USWNT will have two more friendlies vs. Mexico on July 13 and vs. Costa Rica on July 16. Then it's off to France for the Games, where the U.S. hopes to win its first gold medal since 2012.

The Americans were drawn into Group B with Zambia, Germany and Australia.

Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. She previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the author of "Strong Like a Woman," published in spring 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow her on Twitter @LakenLitman.


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