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U.S. Men's National Team

USMNT lines up friendly against South Korea in February

SouthKoreaStartingXI1-Russia (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

With time ahead of the 2014 World Cup running short, U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has scheduled another fellow World Cup participant for his team to face following their January camp.

U.S. Soccer announced today that the USMNT will host South Korea on Sunday, Feb. 1 at the StubHub Center. It’s the first time that the two nations will face each other since playing to a 1-1 draw at the 2002 World Cup.

“As a team that has qualified for Brazil, the Korea Republic will be another great benchmark for us,” Klinsmann said in a statement. “They bring a different style of play than we have seen in the last two years, and that gives us a chance to grow. With only two or three games left before May, this will be an important opportunity for the players who will be finishing off the January camp. The message will be the same one we start with every time we get together: we are here to win.”

South Korea head coach Hong Myung-Bo, who captained his side in the 2002 World Cup, will also be returning to Los Angeles after playing with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2003 and 2004 before retiring. Myung-Bo took over the National Team last June when Choi Kang-Hee resigned.

Though they qualified for the World Cup next summer in Brazil, they only earned an automatic qualification place on goal-differential after tying Uzbekistan on points in their qualifying group.

The match is the first for the USMNT in 2014 but will be the second for South Korea, as they’re scheduled to face Mexico in San Antonio, Texas on Jan. 29.

After falling to Austria, 1-0, and playing to a scoreless draw with Scotland in two friendly matches in November, the U.S. Men’s National Team fell to No. 14 in the November FIFA rankings.

South Korea no longer have the services of former Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-Sung, but they do count on Bayer Leverkusen’s Son Heung-Min and Sunderland’s Ki Sung-Yueng as current playmakers. Bolton’s Lee Chung-Yong captained the squad in their most recent friendly matches against Switzerland and Russia last month.

As the match takes place outside of the respected FIFA dates, both teams will likely only feature players from the nation’s respective domestic leagues or other leagues on an extended winter break.

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What do you think of this news? Excited to see the U.S. play South Korea? Who do you see being called up by Klinsmann for the match? Think that South Korea will be a good test for the USMNT?

Share your thoughts below.

89 comments
    • Palisades

      Also, I’m stoked about this matchup, especially since my brother is living in SK. I would have preferred Japan though.

      Like

      • Kingsly Alexander

        Should of been Japan. It’s crazy that it’s not. Schedules probably didn’t fit, but if your going to try and get an Asian team in to play, it’s obviously Japan you want. They were awesome in their friendlies vs the Netherlands and Belgium

        Like

    • DCU Socal Fan

      We should be playing some matches against African and south American teams… Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ecuador, Colombia etc…

      Like

      • Four Cents

        I 100% Agree! Why do we always wait until a knockout round of the world cup to play them?

        Like

    • Christian

      what an awful comment. clearly, you want to tune up for the world cup against teams from all continents because style of play differs from country to country and continent to continent so it’s imperative that we play against a team from Asia.

      also, your ranking is off the mark if you have south korea as the 4th worst team in the world cup. what three countries do you have below them?

      Like

      • Maykol

        Lol awful haha. How is it awful if I say Korea is not a strong team? And I rank Algeria, Greece, maybe Honduras worse

        Like

      • Christian

        Australia? Iran? Switzerland (an overrated seeded team)? Ecuador? Even Mexico as of late? South Korea is a team who made it out of the group stages and only lost to a very good Uruguay in World Cup 2010. They’re not an elite team, but to call them 4th worst in the tournament? It’s a bit of a stretch. mid-tier team for sure, but so is the U.S. right?

        Like

      • Maykol

        Iran and Australia are both on Koreas level. If Switzerland, Ecuador or Mexico played Korea, no doubt my money would be on those first three. If I recall not too long ago, Mexico scared the hell out of many usmnt fans. IF and that’s a big if, Mexico gets back to that form. They should reach quarter finals

        Like

      • Christian

        i could see Mexico being scary in the world cup, but they need to somehow find that form of a year or two ago to make it into the quarterfinals. not saying that couldn’t do it though. depending on their draw, and if they find their form, they can definitely go far!

        Like

      • Kingsly Alexander

        I completely agree with Maykol on his rankings. There’s no denying it.

        Like

      • J

        Korea played Switzerland a few weeks ago and played a thrilling 2-1 victory.

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      • BryanV7

        You realize Ecuador beat the US in 2011 so they’re not a weak team in reality no one is. This maybe the hardest World Cup ever you’ll be prepare to witness a higher ranking seed defeating a lower ranking seed.

        Like

      • krazymunky

        Seriously you rank greece as one of the worst 4?
        They might not be entertaining but they get results.

        Like

      • Christian

        good point about greece, but do you remember south korea beat them 2-0 in world cup 2010?

        Like

      • Christian

        krazymunky – i do think greece is better than one of the bottom three and although south korea beat them in world cup 2010, i do know that a lot changes in four years and greece looked really good in their last two matches (playoff legs) to reach brazil!

        Like

      • Maykol

        Look good for draws. Don’t fancy them beating many at the World Cup and getting three points

        Like

      • Increase

        I hate to say it but Greece is solid. They set up for the draw or the 1-0 win and they get it a lot.

        Like

      • Annelid Gustator

        World Football ELO ratings puts them as the 4th worst, above only Honduras, Cameroon, and Algeria.

        Like

      • Christian

        Just so you know, any rating system, such as FIFA and ELO are all rubbish. Tell me what England was ranked? Brazil? Just curious. U.S.?

        Like

      • Annelid Gustator

        Sure, the FIFA ratings are notoriously bad, and the ELO ratings aren’t super far off from them.

        On the other hand, why should we substitute your judgment?

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      • Christian

        Not saying you have to use my judgement, but for someone to come out and say “ehhh, i rank them the 4th worst team in the tournament,” although it’s their opinion and they’re entitled to that, i’m going let them know my opinion about that comment as well as give them some facts from someone who follows Asian soccer pretty closely. Although South Korea isn’t in the world’s elite, they will be a tough challenge for the U.S. and a very good friendly on the schedule. Curious to know what Maykol ranks the U.S. in the tournament?

        Like

      • Kingsly Alexander

        More like common consensus.

        It’s not hard to look at the teams who made the World Cup and and see the ones who are lucky to be there, the contenders, and all the rest, some of which can make a run to the quarters

        The US, Japan, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Chile, Croatia, Boznia…there’s probably like 10 teams are nobody’s looking at and 3 or 4 will get to the quaters.

        Like

      • Annelid Gustator

        FIFA rating puts South Korea as third worst, above Cameroon and Australia.

        Like

      • Christian

        Exactly my point. FIFA ratings and ELO ratings are pretty much off the mark because of their criteria. Any educated fan would tell you that. Did you see Greece was ranked #12 in the FIFA ratings?

        Like

      • Christian

        And according to FIFA, Algeria was ranked #26…a spot ahead of Sweden. Incredibly accurate.

        Like

    • Joe+G

      It’s not like a whole lot of countries are available in January for a match… especially one that likely we can’t draw as a WC opponent.

      Like

      • beto

        +1 i dont know why they didn’t schedule Germany during the middle of the Bundesliga/UEFA season a few days before we could have drawn them in the WC Group stage… jk

        Like

    • Christian

      @Kingsly Alexander – Definitely agree that I would love to see U.S. play Japan in a friendly, but the ratings are off, but that’s just my opinion. 4th to worst in the tournament? Sorry, plenty of other teams with less talent than Korea.

      Like

    • drew11

      Not going to be a cupcake match. More like playing Mexico at the coliseum but on a smaller scale.

      Like

  • Dennis

    S. Korea will likely be the kind of opponent that plays high pressure, is very fit and never stops running. The high pressure will be a good test of the USA’s ability to hold possession and to patiently build an attack. SK’s high pressure and fitness will be in the forefront since many of their more skilled players will not be available (the same is true of the US, so this could be a pretty hellter-skelter affair).

    Like

    • iggy

      But their guys will be jet-lagged from a long flight :)

      Maybe a helter sketler 0-0 scoreline, with 1 shot on goal each?

      Like

    • Brain Guy

      I would guess that a high-pressure opponent would demand not so much patience as quickness and tactical discipline. But either way, it should be a good test.

      Like

    • usaalltheway

      +1

      I too find this to be a great match up. I would never underestimate this team. Same for Japan.

      Looks like this is JK’s great gift to the USMNT; getting tons of friendlies against all types of teams all year round.

      I look forward to this greatly.

      Like

      • Gunnerstahl

        The more friendlies the more chance, Beasley and Evans get replaced. :)

        Like

  • timothy

    This should be a good match. South Korea and Japan are two countries that should never be underestimated. They can be giant-killers with a team full of mostly nobodies, so they are similar to the US in that regard.

    p.s. I am very aware of the talent on the USMNT, I am mostly referring to the lack of big world names we have like Ibrahimovic, Eto’o, etc. on teams like Madrid, Man Utd, Bayern Munich, etc.

    Like

  • BB

    Why is everyone arguing over the merits of these two teams….neither will be at full strength. It’s just for the coaches to gauge the fringe players who have a shot at making world cup team. It is not a FIFA international match date. So yes, it definitely is the cupcake match.

    Like

  • el paso tx

    I wonder who else is USA playing in 2014. I heard Mexico has 3 very interesting friendlies in the states, starting in san antonio. Mexico just kills the USA and MLS momentum all the time :(
    As for Fridays draw i think Mexico will get the group of death and USA as well.

    Like

    • Maykol

      There’s probably gonna be like 3 groups of death. So I’m pretty nervous about Friday

      Like

    • beto

      Mexico vs. South Korea – Alamo Dome – Wednesday January 29th

      (just a couple days before we get them!)

      Like

    • beto

      does El Tri play regardless of the Clausura schedule? or do they move the Jornada’s around for National Team games?

      Just wondering if we would be able to call Beasley, Castillo, Herc, etc for a couple January games too…

      Like

      • El Paso tx

        They do, they actually respect the main games but not the B team and sometimes they go on even if A team is playing since they don’t wanna stop the season.
        If they are mandatory dates, they do but they gotta se the A team from Europe come.
        In Mexico, the sponsors and tv deals, along with owners rules the mexican soccer league.
        Have you heard about televisa or tvazteca.
        Basically televisa is ABC and tvazteca is like cbs but they both show soccer 24 7.
        Did you know televisa kinda owns Univision and basically tvazteca sucks.

        Like

  • Lost in Space

    A good choice for an off FIFA Date. South Korea will be a challenge for the MLS contingent of MLS players.
    Rimanado, Evans, Gonzalez, Besler, Goodson, Beckerman, Zusi, Diskerud, Donovan, EJ should all be there.
    Not sure who else fills out the squad but some of the players could be…..
    Agudelo, Feilhaber, Yedlin, Klute, Ferrell, Davis, Pontius, S. Johnson, Hamid.
    Anyone I’m missing?????????

    Like

    • beto

      your January camp guys this year will be:
      EJ, Wondo, Davis, Zusi, Beckerman, Mix, Klute-LB?, Besler,Gonzo, Evans, Rimando
      McInerney, Agudelo?, Magee, Feilhaber, McCarty, Beltan, Ashe, Hall, Hamid, SeanJohn

      just my picks.. assuming Landon and Dempsey go on loan…

      maybe Parkhurst will transfer to MLS, maybe LigaMX will let some players go too

      Like

  • beto

    Feb 1 is a Saturday.

    Good test for a MLS-based camp. With a FIFA date the next Wednesday I wonder what their plan is… maybe a friendly vs. SKR with mostly MLS guys then add in the European based group for a Wednesday friendly.

    Also is this the one and only friendly at the end of the January camp? usually there is another one earlier..

    Like

  • Dan

    I think JK needs to bring in Timmy Chandler back to the USMNT. He is the perfaect Right Back the US needs. He is young, fast and playing well for FC Nurnburg, all 90 minutes. It’s a no brainer. It is our weakest position. I don’t know why Klinsmann keeps experimenting with guys that are not nearly as good. Yes I know he had one bad game against Honduras. But so what. Other players have also had bad games and he keeps broinging them back. Don’t understand his thinking sometimes.

    Like

    • beto

      as soon as they build a bridge between Nurenburg, Los Angeles, and Brazil Chandler will be with the USMNT, until then they are not buying him any air plane tickets..

      Like

    • John

      Cameron played well against Austria and has been doing pretty well for Stoke this year at right back. I think Klinsmann just kind of got tired of putting up with Chandler getting an injury somewhere between coming off the field and the locker room every time the US had a match coming up.

      Like

  • Christian

    @Kingsly Alexander – common consensus? fair enough, but anyone who’s truly followed Asian soccer will know that Korea is a striker away from being in the same group that you have the U.S. in. They’re a hard working team, very organized, technical like Japan, but can’t finish at the moment. Good players like Ki and Son. If Park Chu Young can leave Arsenal in January (was never given a fair chance there and nobody can disagree with that) and find his form before the World Cup, they’ll be on that same level.

    Like

    • Joamiq

      Korea is roughly on our level, but at the same time, their team is largely composed of K-League guys. The two teams are roughly even at the top, but they are very top heavy while we are deep.

      Like

      • Paul Miller

        Adu should play – he has nothing better to do. JK must play him, or I’ll… I don’t know… watch olympic curling?

        Like

  • bryan

    LD just posted a picture of him on facebook walking down an alley that was clearly taken in Europe. i think we just got confirmation he is going to Everton.

    Like

    • ZZtoppppp

      The Only teams that the USMNT can’t be drawn into the same group as are Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Japan, South Korea, Iran and Australia. Don’t want to play a team you would face in the World Cup.

      Like

  • Ilya

    What is the reason to play vs. Asian team, when we will not play with Asia in the group stage? I prefer one from Africa or S.Amreica.

    Like

    • Benny Dargle

      Since it is not a FIFA date, it has to be a team with a domestic league that is off during that period (or a majority of players in another country’s domestic league that is similarly off in February). I believe the K League’s season run from March to November, just like MLS.

      Like

  • Joamiq

    It’s a World Cup team that will be just as motivated as we are. Good matchup. African and South American teams would be great too though.

    Like

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