Teenager Lily Yohannes scores to help the US down South Korea 3-0 as the Olympics loom

United States midfielder Lily Yohannes, left, and forward Sophia Smith, center, celebrate after the 3-0 win against South Korea of an international friendly soccer match in St. Paul, Minn., Tuesday, June 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)(AP/Abbie Parr)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Sixteen-year-old Lily Yohannes scored in her national team debut and the United States defeated South Korea 3-0 in an exhibition on Tuesday night.

Crystal Dunn and Sophia Smith also scored for the U.S., playing its second game under coach Emma Hayes.

“It’s a dream come true, really,” said Yohannes, who came in as a second-half substitute. “I mean, I played this scenario out in my head like how many times before this game? Just having the idea of coming on and scoring.”

Hayes was named coach last November but remained in Europe to finish the season with Chelsea. She replaced Vlatko Andonovski, who stepped down after the U.S. was knocked out of the Women’s World Cup last summer in the round of 16.

The U.S. also won the first friendly match over South Korea 4-0 on Saturday in Commerce City, Colorado. Mallory Swanson and Tierna Davidson each had a pair of goals.

Hayes will now turn her attention to selecting an 18-player roster for the U.S. Olympic team. The U.S. opens the Olympics on July 25 against Zambia in Nice.

Hayes made sweeping changes to the starting lineup for Tuesday’s match played in steady rain at St. Paul’s Allianz Field. Only captain Lindsey Horan and Jenna Nighswonger also started on Saturday.

Alex Morgan, who did not play in the first match against South Korea because of a minor injury, was among the starters.

Dunn, making her first start at forward since 2017, scored in the 13th minute off a cross from Nighswonger. Dunn, who has played primarily at left back in recent years, had not scored since October 2018. She has 25 career goals.

Goalkeeper Casey Murphy preserved the lead when she dove to push away a free kick in the 30th minute.

Smith scored her fourth goal of the year in the 67th minute at a tight angle off a backheel pass from Swanson.

Smith said she and Swanson have a unique chemistry.

“I think we’re very similar, but we’re different in ways. We just bounce off of each other really well and play off each other and make runs,” Smith said. “I feel like I always know where she’s going to go, where I’m going to go. It’s a fun combination for sure. And I really think this is just the start of it.”

Yohannes, who plays for Dutch club Ajax, got her goal just 10 minutes after coming into the game as a substitute, scoring from out front through traffic on a cross from Trinity Rodman in the 82nd. Yohannes became the third-youngest player to score for the national team.

After the goal, Yohannes was mobbed by her teammates in celebration and even the bench emptied to cheer for her.

“That was just really amazing support from my teammates all running up to me. That made it just so much more special and I’m just really happy,” Yohannes said. “Really excited.”

Midfielder Rose Lavelle played in her 100th match for the United States.

The team has two more matches before leaving for France. They’ll play Mexico on July 13 at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey before a sendoff match against Costa Rica in Washington D.C. on July 16.

“I’m really proud of the team for buying into everything Emma and the staff has been putting on us this week. A lot of new things, but everyone’s taking it in, and adapted fast, and so we’re just excited about where we’re going with this,” Murphy said.


AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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