Aug 9, 2012, 5:48 PM EDT
Is U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd a big-game name now, or what?
Four years ago the U.S. midfielder supplied the money goal, lifting her country to Olympic soccer gold in a 1-0 win over powerful Brazil. Her strike then came six minutes into overtime.
So how does Lloyd (pictured) one-up the Olympic deal on Thursday? With two goals, naturally.
(MORE: Jenna Pel, our women’s national team expert, will have her thoughts on the match soon … so check back.)
All credit to the woman for a flat-out, no-doubt, don’t-even-think-about-arguing-the-point night of heroically getting it done.
But let’s do point the compass of credit to a couple of others on Lloyd’s game-winning goal. Smart runs from Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach created the space for Lloyd to exploit so beautifully.
Japanese defenders hardly covered themselves in glory here, allowing far too much space for Lloyd, who has demonstrated her willingness and ability to shoot effectively from longer distances.
Early in the clip, watch as Morgan makes not just a smart run, but a committed one. Remember, this was the team’s sixth match in 16 days, a taxing slog if ever there was one in soccer. It would have been easy for Morgan to dog it just a little here, to pace herself just a smidge and keep something in the tank for later, for herself.
But she selflessly dashed out wide right, knowing the chances were slim that she would get ball, but surely dragging a defender with her and opening critical space for a teammate. If Morgan remains inside, Japan’s right center back doesn’t have a tough, instant decision to make. She stays inside in that case, providing extra support in opposition of the ball carrier, which allows her fellow center back to more aggressively step toward Lloyd.
On the other side, Wambach’s late choice to pull wide, rather than remaining inside and looking to work something in combination with Lloyd, created just a little hesitation for Japan’s left center back.
Lloyd burst into the space – and there came the gold-winning goal.
We should probably two other elements of the goal:
- First was Megan Rapinoe’s aggressive pass that found Lloyd. Under pressure from two Japanese midfielders, too many players may have played something a little safer – which would have meant forfeiting the initiative on the counter attack. Rapinoe found the right ball and permitted her team to seize the initiative.
- Second, let’s tip our hat to Pia Sundhage’s bold tactical choice of changing the lineup, starting Shannon Boxx, who was returning from injury. Boxx’s ability to reliably possess the ball and her natural defensive tendencies probably gave Lloyd just that last little bit of confidence to keep surging forward in the contest, to keep pressing herself further into advanced spaces, comfy in the knowledge that a steady-eddy holding midfield force was sitting dependably behind her.
May 17, 2013, 7:32 PM EDT
Wait a doggone minute! Didn’t Philadelphia and Chicago just play?
May 17, 2013, 6:45 PM EDT
Brest and FC Lorient will be the opposition for retiring midfielder’s final two pro matches:
May 17, 2013, 5:35 PM EDT
Something we should fold into the ongoing Landon Donovan-U.S. national team debate:
May 17, 2013, 5:10 PM EDT
David Beckham has an option to purchase an MLS expansion franchise, and that has zero to do with Chivas USA:
May 17, 2013, 4:52 PM EDT
We know that Major League Soccer’s All-Star match is headed to Sporting Park in Kansas City this year – but we remain in the dark about the opposition:
May 17, 2013, 4:20 PM EDT
The second game is under appeal.
May 17, 2013, 4:02 PM EDT
Coming off their first loss of the season, the Portland Thorns host the suddenly dangerous Washington Spirit.
May 17, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT
Can San Jose bounce back against a solid Colorado outfit?
May 17, 2013, 3:45 PM EDT
On the issue of lineup revealing and the timing thereof, they share a similar thought:
May 17, 2013, 2:30 PM EDT
Both teams putting their unbeaten streaks on the line, goals galore in Seattle?
May 17, 2013, 1:23 PM EDT
Could USMNT winger Brek Shea be in trouble after he was part of a prank that went horribly wrong?
May 17, 2013, 12:59 PM EDT
Arch rivals Real and Atletico square off for silverware in the Spanish capital…which way will it go?
May 17, 2013, 11:17 AM EDT
Watch every single goal Beckham scored in Major League Soccer, then let us know which one was the best.
May 17, 2013, 10:52 AM EDT
Wigan’s manager has a tough decision to make, would moving away would be the correct one?
May 17, 2013, 9:23 AM EDT
Will Beckham now join PSG in an ambassadorial role? The race is on for Becks’ signature…post-soccer
May 17, 2013, 8:58 AM EDT
The Uruguayan striker speaks about his ambitions to play in MLS and his love for the USA.
May 17, 2013, 7:31 AM EDT
Worlds richest man looks set to buy ailing MLS franchise, is this the end for Chivas USA?
May 16, 2013, 7:30 PM EDT
This is where the big upsets can happen, and who doesn’t love a big upset potential?
May 16, 2013, 6:10 PM EDT
Since every player who started the last two World Cup qualifiers for Jurgen Klinsmann was named to today’s roster, putting our arms around the lineups ahead shouldn’t be too tricky:
- Swimmer Phelps denies comeback rumors
- PHT: Crosby's hat trick powers Penguins past Senators
- PFT: Jets' Goodson gets five gun and drug charges
- PFT: Gronk taking pre-surgery rip through Vegas
- PFT: Seahawks' Irvin suspended for violating PED policy
- Orb favored to take Preakness, set up Triple try
- What to watch for at the Preakness
- Play Video: Highlights: Union outlast Fire
- Play Video: Sir Alex says goodbye
- Play Video: Morgan committed to growth of new women's league
- Play Video: Boy with cancer, 8, scores against major league soccer team
- Play Video: Red Bulls pull off win on the road
- Play Video: Highlights: Montreal extinguish Chicago