In a disappointing finale to what has been a truly disappointing Toulon Tournament, the United States lost to South Korea, 1-0, to finish their four games with just three points.
Cho Sung Gyu was the hero for South Korea, as his 62nd minute goal drew South Korea even with France at seven points in second place of Group A. However, France will advance to the third-place game with a better goal differential.
The first half of this game was a rather uninspiring affair.
Hyun Kim nearly got South Korea on the board in the 11th minute, finding himself with a free look at goal, but his curling effort couldn't find the back of the net and the United States escaped an early warning with no damage done.
And folks, that was pretty much the lone highlight of the first half. Both teams played sloppy football and didn't seem particularly sharp.
The United States at times looked threatening, but as FOX Soccer Trax noted, the team's basic lack of fundamentals was preventing any counter-attacks from developing:
37 US looks like it has the ability to counter but the passing, receiving simply must be better— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax) June 5, 2013
The United States came out strong in the second half, with several positive opportunities to score. But two shots in the box would sail just over the bar, while Victor Pineda's headed attempt was saved nicely by South Korean keeper Han Sook Min.
But while the United States looked the more threatening side for much of the second half, it was South Korea that scored the game's first goal against the run of play in the 62nd minute.
Cody Cropper initially made a save after a terrible back pass put the United States in danger, but Cho Sung Gyu calmly scooped up the rebound, cut on his left foot as two American defenders slid past him and slotted his curling shot in the upper left corner of the net.
South Korea nearly doubled the lead in the 78th minute, but Cropper made a brilliant save on Cho Sung Gyu, who was wide open in front of the goal and nearly deflected a centering feed into the net.
Man of the Match: Cho Sung Gyu, South Korea
In a match that really lacked much flavor in the early going, the most logical choice for this award is Cho Sung Gyu, the game's lone goal-scorer.
He may also be a source of some disappointment for South Korea as well, however, as his failure to score a late goal ensured it would be France and not South Korea that competed in the third-place game. But in general, he was the game's most threatening force and a deserving Man of the Match.
Both teams, certainly disappointed by their results in this tournament, will now be focusing on the FIFA 13 U-20 World Cup starting on June 21st. The United States has a fairly brutal draw with Spain, France and Ghana to deal with, while South Korea has Cuba, Portugal and Nigeria in its group.