The United States finished seventh at the 2014 Algarve Cup, following a resounding 3-0 defeat of Korea DPR in Parchal, Portugal.
With the win, the U.S. women's national team avoids what would've been its first three-game losing streak since 1993, per ESPN's Paul Carr:
The Algarve Cup hasn't gone according to plan for the Americans. They drew their first match with Japan 1-1, and it only went downhill from there. Losses to both Sweden and Denmark followed, leaving the U.S. last in Group B and with only a seventh-place match to close out the tournament.
North Korea came into the match a perfect 3-for-3, but their road had been much easier, as it was designed to be.
The United States came into this match as heavy favorites and demonstrated why early. It took all of 11 minutes for Abby Wambach to put the U.S. ahead.
It was a trademark Wambach goal, per U.S. women's national team Twitter account:
That made it 166 career goals for the legendary American, moving her eight ahead of second-place Mia Hamm.
With the one-goal cushion, the United States were able to exert more influence on the match. North Korea strung together some nice passing movements and looked good on the counter-attack, but the U.S. had it scouted out well.
The Americans knew how quickly the North Koreans could strike, so they were careful not to be ripped apart like they were against Denmark. The defense as a whole was miles better than it was on Monday, which was some of the worst soccer you've ever seen from the women's national team.
You could sense that the United States needed a second goal in order to put North Korea away for good, and once again, the U.S. called upon Wambach. She added a second goal in the 59th minute, effectively ending any chance of a South Korean comeback:
Wambach's brace was her 40th multi-goal game of her national team career, the most in U.S. history:
Just for good measure, Heather O'Reilly put the United States ahead 3-0 in the 88th minute, and the game finished that way.
O'Reilly joined Wambach in hitting a milestone on Wednesday, according to the U.S. Women's National Team Twitter feed:
Although Wambach will grab the headlines, the performance of Carli Lloyd can't be ignored:
Neither can how well the defense played. As mentioned before, it was unrecognizable from the one that played Denmark, failing to concede a single shot to North Korea:
Although Sermanni and his players will take little solace in ending the Algarve Cup with a win, it at least builds some momentum going forward.
The United States women's national team won't play again for a few weeks. On April 6 and 10, they have a two-match series against China. The first meeting is at Dick's Sporting Goods Park outside Denver, and the second is at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.
After that, they play Canada in Winnipeg in preparation for CONCACAF qualification for the the 2015 starts against Mexico in October.
The U.S. will no doubt be the team to beat in North America and one of the favorites in Canada next summer.