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Yohannes, Dunn shine as USWNT blank South Korea

In the U.S. women’s national team’s final match before the Olympic roster is decided, newly minted head coach Emma Hayes took her final look at the player pool with nine changes to her starting XI as the Americans earned a second-straight win over South Korea.

Following a 4-0 win on Saturday, 16-year-old debutant Lily Yohannes stole the headlines of Tuesday’s 3-0 victory by scoring in her first substitute appearance as a full international. In doing so, the eighth player to make her USWNT debut before turning 17 (first since 2001) became the third-youngest USWNT goalscorer ever (16y 358d) behind Kristine Lilly and Tiffany Roberts.

The goal coming in the 82nd minute put the cherry on top of an already secured victory, allowing the entire USWNT bench to meet Yohannes at the corner flag for a memorable celebration.

“It’s a dream come true really,” Yohannes shared her excitement postmatch. “I played this scenario out in my head how many times before this game, just having the idea of coming on and scoring and that was really amazing. [The] support from my teammates all running up to me made it just so much more special”

Beyond the goal, Yohannes showed a calmness on the ball not typically associated with 16-year-old footballers in the middle of the park. Combined with her ability to pick a pass with vision beyond her years, the Ajax youngster made a serious case for being on that flight to Paris next month.

“She’s a press-resistant player, gets out of the pressure, the weight of the pass, the quality of the pass – she plays with the football whether it’s the sole of her foot or the outside of her foot. She’s a natural footballer [who] is confident in her abilities,” Hayes praised her debutant. “I think playing in Europe has accelerated her learning…She’s had exposures that many American 16-year-olds have not had and it shows. There is a maturity to it even at a tender age. This is her second camp and there’s already been a step up from the first to the second. I want to celebrate her first cap. It’s a really special moment for her and her family.”

Although the first half of the match was less than ideal from an American perspective, Yohannes wasn’t the only player to make her case for the limited 18-woman roster headed to the Olympics. In her first start as a forward since July 30, 2017, veteran Crystal Dunn made the case of versatility by ending her run of 75 USWNT games without a goal – the second-longest drought between goals in USWNT history behind Kelley O’Hara (82 games).

“I know what Crystal Dunn is about. She’s played for me before and she’ll do whatever the team needs,” Hayes pointed out Dunn’s flexibility. “Being able to play her out wide, perhaps to start thinking about which players might fill multiple positions for the team, and of course I’ve experimented as much as I could do in these two games. I thought Crystal was solid the whole evening in every way, shape, or form. I’m happy to be back with her.”

Fullback Jenna Nighswonger – one of the two players to start both games against South Korea – will be hoping her first USWNT assist caught Hayes’ eye as well after scoring twice in the Americans’ recent W Gold Cup triumph.

Further, in keeping a clean sheet, goalkeeper Casey Muphy has made her own Olympic case by keeping the ball out of the back of the net in her last eight USWNT starts, equaling the second-longest streak in team history. The three-way battle with Alyssa Naeher and Jane Campbell is heating up for the two Olympic goalkeeper roster spots.

Of course, Hayes will have numerous difficult decisions ahead but due to the hard work put in by her squad over the past week, she is ready to make them.

“I couldn’t have asked for any more from anyone this week. For that reason I feel happy,” Hayes shared on her team’s Olympic preparation. “Between now and next camp we’ve got to analyze all the things we’ve got to get absolutely right leading into the Olympics.”

When that roster is selected, the USWNT will have two final preparation matches against Mexico on July 13th and Costa Rica on July 16th before they leave for Paris to chase their first Olympic gold medal since 2012.


  1. 3-4-3 or “the mirror formation” for these two matches fits this squad. Specifically, Horan. I’m glad she helped win the 1st Women’s GC, because every line up I’ve seen with her starting, after the WC. I just don’t watch. Not because I’m special, or a-hole, I think she is a rotational player for the US at this stage in her career, same as Rose. Club performance notwithstanding. (Thomas Meuller (Germany), Antoine Griezmann (France), Harry Maguire (England) as examples of players, I think are better served as rotational players for their countries. Dunn as a RWB scores. Dunn a right footed LB, has a scoring drought. Who knew? Hopefully, Nighswonger a lefty takes over LB (though I thought Krueger would be in the mix at LB, she played RCB this match) & we see Dunn in attack until the young star & stripes gain more chemistry. Dunn presses the goal at the same level as Swanson & Sophia and better than this version of Alex Morgan. Rodman’s passing from RW is improving. Shaw is a CF in waiting; she can shoot & score with either feet with power, and makes it look easy. I would like to see Shaw backup Lynn Williams at CF. Gotta stop this winger nonsense, & use Lynn’s straight line speed. Alleviate the pressure from playing defense and allow Shaw to just focus on scoring. Lily showed an elegance & class beyond her age. Casey Murphy impressed me the most with that diving save from behind the US wall. She’s a quick twitch athlete dats 4 damn sho. Shame if she isn’t on the Olympic roster. Justin, your cadence of your writing in this article is interesting. Different than LJ’s, not better or worse, by comparison just different. I had to look who wrote this ‘cuz I was like Larry doesn’t write like this. LJ, this isn’t a diss, you’re still a machine!!

    • doesn’t look like a one numbered formation to me

      defending in our 3rd it’s a 4 4 2. for Hayes, when we press out of that, the strong side outside mid pushes up so it looks like a 4 3 3, like what Pep does…one could call it that. but as soon as the ball skips to the other side, that player drops to weak side cover position, and the other outside mid pushes up

      in attack and playing out, the left back pushes up to show that look you’re seeing

      the women’s team has utilized multiple defensive looks depending on where on the field they are defending for many years, and continue to do that seems to me. for a while it was a 4 3 3 press which dropped to a 4 1 4 1 in our half. I remember Spain trying to mess us up by keeping the ball in the middle 3rd to confuse the transition form one shape to the other

      as for Dunn at LB, she played it beautifully, played in Smith more than once; it’s her versatility that is so unique and why Sonnett will make the team, too

      I disagree with your Lynn Williams take, but agree 100% on Murphy, a giant with cat like quickness and super smart player too. We really like her over here, Naeher too

      Horan needs to go back to just making the simple plays imho, she’s trying to hard to live up to her CL pedigree. idk, maybe that’s wrong but that’s what I see

      Rose will be a bench player because of fitness, and I predict a game changer off the bench for this team; she was the lone threat at the WC, and Yamashita yellow carded her out of the tournament; now with Swanson and Macario back healthy, Shaw having emerged, the other new talent, she won’t be the focus of the defense…for the first time in the uni!! I think she’s going to do very well as long as she’s healthy

      • Your 2nd paragraph explains the 3-4-3 without you even knowing it. Dbl B. Zone v Man 2 man formation. 4-3-3 is zone formation, a derivative of the 4-4-2. 3-4-3 is a zone formation, a derivative of a 3-5-2. Derivatives can look identical to the original. The newest zone formation is the 3-4-2-1 (solo strike above, 2 attack midfielder). Man City used this half of their season. A good 3-4-3 Examples – Dutch v USA round of 16 ‘22 WC. USA V Mexico ‘21 NL Final. USA v Canada group stage ‘21 GC. 4-1-4-1, & 4-2-3-1 are man 2 man formations. All formations are based formations. Team sports since the 1960s starting with the ABA/NBA. Where zone offenses, turns into man to man defenses. Formations are important because every teammate has to know what position every teammate is in. No such thing as position -less in a formation. Children play willy nilly with no structure. Adults at this level play with structure & strategy. Again for the people in the back, the 3-4-3 MIRRORS the empty space in the opposing teams formation. On defense, the look of the front 4 could be 3-1 like in a 4–2-3-1. 3 center backs will help you differentiate between those 2 formations. Guarding a throw-in, the 3-4-3, will shape into a 4-4-2. Again, 3 center backs will help you differentiate those 2 formations. The difference between a 3-5-2 and a 3-4-3 is the strikers, & the 10. A 3-5-2, there is always the same player in the 10 position, while the 3-4-3, rotates players in & out of the 10 area, and there’s 2 central midfielders at the same level, in front of the 3 CBs. Wingers & Wingbacks, or the 9 can be seen at different points of the game in the central midfield position. Where as the 3-5-2, it is one player primarily in the middle, w/ 2 midfielders behind. The 3–4-3 is a chameleon, designed to fool opponents. It is a tricky ZONE formation. 3-4-2-1 is the derivative of the the 3-4-3. I predict at least 4 countries using this formation in the ‘26 WC.

  2. I did find out up to 4 alternates are also allowed with the team. Unlike other tournaments it looks like a player can be replaced at any point during the tournament if one of the 18 are ill or injured. One of the four has to be a GK.

  3. For me Lily’s qualities jumped off of the screen last night, something I’ve yet to feel about Moultrie or Korbin Albert. I think the last 2 camps might also suggest that Lily Yohannes has surpassed Moultrie in the pecking order. There is still the question of whether Korbin has done enough to persuade her teammates that she wouldn’t be more of a hinderance in terms of team chemistry after the “social mediagate” thing, regardless of her qualities. I think Lily provides a skillset that we just don’t have in the pool, and at her age to boot! She’s a box to box player clearly, can pick out pin point passes/through balls with the perfect weight on them(that Rodman pass), is technically superb and has a stature/presence in midfield that I think we need. I think Emma will seriously consider taking her, the problem though becomes does Lily want to commit to the USWNT at this stage, with the Netherlands lurking in the back ground

    • This would be my 18 for the Olympics…….

      Alyssa Naeher
      Jane Campbell

      Naomi Girma(CB)
      Tierna Davidson(FB/CB)
      Emily Sonnett(CDM/CB) or Casey Krueger(FB/CB)
      Emily Fox(FB/CB)
      Crystal Dunn(FB/CM/Fwd)
      Jenna Nighswonger(FB)

      Sam Coffey(CDM)
      Lindsey Horan(CDM/CM/CAM)
      Rose Lavelle(CM/CAM)
      Korbin Albert(CDM/CM)*
      Jaeden Shaw(CM/CAM/Fwd)
      Lily Yohannes(CDM/CM)

      Mal Swanson
      Sophia Smith
      Trinity Rodman
      Catarina Macario(CAM/Fwd)

    • I think you nailed it Ronnie, and on the Sonnett or Krueger pick, Sonnet because of her versatility imo tho I’d love to see Kreuger rewarded after all these years of service to the team, but I just don’t think it’s going to happen

  4. Here’s hoping Emma Hayes is bold with her Olympic selections. Only take an established veteran if you are certain there is a specific role for them on the team. Alex Morgan is on the tail end of her career, and not likely to be a sure starter. Lavelle doesn’t appear to be the dominant player she was at the WWC in 2019. The younger players are talented and hungry. Time for a change.

  5. I always thought the USWNT misused Crystal Dunn by playing her at left back. Credit to her that she made it work, but she is better playing higher up the field, IMHO. She got exposed by the Dutch at the last WC and was frequently caught out of position. That’s going to happen more often with converted players. I’m glad she’s finally getting some looks at wing even if she now finds herself behind a bunch of young, very good talent.
    I wonder how much freedom Hayes really has. One weakness of the USWNT is that it has always, always, always, deferred to established stars. Alex Morgan has been such a huge part of USWNT it’s hard to believe they won’t allow her to leave on her own terms, even though I think on the merits, Hayes should probably leave her at home or take her as an alternate if that is an option. Last night was a good case in point. The offense sputtered with her partnering with Shaw and Dunn.

  6. Hayes has some difficult decisions with her selections. It is clear the players who are on another level and make others around them better(Swanson, Smith, Horan,Girma,Coffey,Rodman) Even when Rodman plays with Smith and Swanson she is a better player.
    Shaw was invisible in the first half? Definitely plays better when she gets service.
    Lavelle just not the same player or is everyone better?
    Does Morgan make them better or make the team play to her level? She is great when she has the ball but not great at pressing, being a target player, and slow.
    I like Dunn a lot and she is a gamer and offers toughness at any position she plays. Playing an advanced position just not sure she is better then what is available? She has lost her burst and not so clean on the ball. Her ability to shoot with both feet is underrated and a heavy foot shooting with both left and right. I think she is best at left back, especially if playing a physical team where Nighswonger is physically overwhelmed.
    Macario, just not familiar enough with her game but in the first match vs SKorea was not a high percentage passer.
    Does Sonett’s versatility solidify a spot for her? Not sure she is master of a position?

    I am guessing the selections will come down to who allows the US to dictate the midfield with interchange from box to box and maintain constant shape to defend. So wide players and midfielders will need to recognize a teammate is up field and they need to rotate into a defensive position.

  7. Do you take Lily to the Olympics to cap tie her? Would she accept? I’m assuming the women’s rules are the same does anyone know?

    • I should say she clearly has the talent to help the team but with an 18 spot roster do you award her a spot to keep her from The Netherlands.

    • Lily is a great story and promising future but still 16. I was super excited to see here take the field and was put in a perfect position to succeed. Especially with the core talent of the US. Is she better than Albert or Moultrie? Has she really played against great competition compared to Albert and Moultrie? The notion of Women’s Euro competition being superior to competition in the US just does not hold water to me. After the WC failure the press was all over a lack of young talent in the US? The failure of the WC was injuries and personal selections.
      Albert is very quick to the ball and a tackle and can go box to box. Also sees the whole field very well.
      Moultrie is skilled at picking out line breaking passes and excellent finisher around the 18. She can also hold possession
      So I am not sure Lily fits right now.

      • Well she did play in the Champions League against Albert and against Hayes and Macario so I think Emma has a pretty good idea of the level she’s played.

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