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Dunn pays it forward, helps USWNT beat South Korea 3-0 at Allianz Field

Since the last match that usual defender Crystal Dunn started at forward for the U.S. women's national soccer team, the storied program has won a World Cup, lost to Sweden in penalties in a major tournament (twice), played in St. Paul (twice) and welcomed a new head coach (twice).

On Tuesday night at Allianz Field, Dunn started on the forward line for the United States for the first time since 2017 and opened the scoring in its 3-0 win over South Korea. The rainy victory was new coach Emma Hayes' second match in charge, having beaten South Korea 4-0 on Saturday in Commerce City, Colo. It also was her last match before naming the team roster for the Paris Olympics.

Dunn's goal — the 25th of her international career and her first since 2018 — came in the 13th minute as she scrambled into the six-yard box to finish a deflected cross from left fullback Jenna Nighswonger.

Nighswonger's outside defender position was 31-year-old Dunn's touchline territory at the 2019 and 2023 Women's World Cups and the Tokyo Olympics. She has played farther up the field as an attacking midfielder in the National Women's Soccer League, too.

"It's something I take a lot of pride in," Dunn said, speaking about her versatility before Tuesday's match. "My career has been a little different than most. It's a blessing and a curse in many moments. 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 when duty called and the U.S. made substitutions at the hour mark, Dunn shifted onto the backline to make way for the young forward trio of Trinity Rodman, Mallory Swanson and Sophia Smith. In the 67th minute, Swanson backheeled a Rodman cross to Smith, who scored from a narrow angle and doubled the U.S. lead.

Hayes, the longtime Chelsea women's coach who was announced as U.S. coach in November 2023 and officially joined the team in May, called in 23 players for the two June friendlies. These two matches are chances for Hayes to quickly assess her options and implement tactics for the 18-player roster that will compete in the Paris Olympics' 12-team tournament come July.

"It feels like I'm a heart surgeon in the middle of emergency surgery, not because anything is drastically wrong, but the reality is, it's really, really hard to be on the wards or on the clinics and teaching everyone and do surgery at the same time, with such limited time," Hayes said Monday. "The core of my work is teaching the team as much as possible."

Hayes made nine starting lineup changes from Saturday's match near Denver, including a first-ever international start for centerback Sam Staab and a first U.S. appearance for 16-year-old Dutch dual-national Lily Yohannes.

Ten minutes after entering the match as a substitute, Yohannes scored a low, back-post shot off a corner kick in the 82nd minute, becoming the third-youngest goal scorer in team history. The entire U.S. bench cleared to embrace Yohannes.

In net for the United States, Casey Murphy stepped in for Jane Campbell and made two big saves, one on a first-half free kick and another a close-range parry in the second.

Midfielder Rose Lavelle also earned her 100th appearance for the U.S. and earned a standing ovation from the near-sellout crowd of 19,169 when she was replaced at the one-hour mark.