Allie Long scored her eighth international goal. (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In her penultimate game as U.S. women’s national coach, Jill Ellis received a present from her team Thursday night — a win and a record.
The Americans registered a 2-0 victory over South Korea before a crowd of 30,071 at Bank of America Stadium.
Ellis, who directed the USA to its second consecutive world championship this summer, moved past the late Tony DiCicco with 106 lifetime victories. Ellis has a 106-7-18 mark, while DiCicco, who guided the Americans to the 1999 World Cup crown, was 105-8-8.
Northport, N.Y. native Allie Long and Mallory Pugh found the net for the Women’s World Cup champions.
Ellis did not have much depth in which to work. She had only six possible substitutes on the bench and two of them were goalkeepers.
A tired USA side dominated stretches of the match, particularly in the second half, but experienced difficulties trying to add to its first-half score as it hit the woodwork three times.
Long gave all the hosts all the scoring they needed three minutes into first-half stoppage time as she converted a 26-yard free kick by Megan Rapinoe, slotting home a three-yard shot for her eighth international goal. It was Rapinoe’s first game back for the USA after she earned Golden Boot and Golden Ball honors at France 2019.
Rapinoe also set up the second goal as an unmarked Pugh headed home her corner kick from three yards in the 76th minute. It was Pugh’s 18th goal of her international career.
The Americans had more shots that hit the goal than wound up inside of it.
Julie Ertz drilled one off the left post in the 15th minute. Midway through the second half. Carli Lloyd, after taking a throw-in from Rapinoe, banged an attempt off the left post. And then Christen Press, who had several close encounters, but no goals to her credit, fired a shot off the left post in the 70th minute only seconds before a Korean defender cleared her rebound attempt off the goal line.
The USA will close out Ellis’ career as head coach when they host South Korea at Soldier Field in Chicago Sunday night.