Lloyd’s first-half brace sets tone as USWNT embarrass Russia

Carli Lloyd

Photo by Stuart Browning/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

BOCA RATON, Fla. — After missing the U.S. Women’s National Team’s first game of the year, Carli Lloyd came back with a vengeance.

Lloyd set the tone for the U.S. with a first-half brace as they routed Russia, 7-0, in a friendly at FAU Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Lloyd’s goals in front of the 8,857 fans in attendance came just eight minutes apart and in her first match back since serving a one-game suspension for a red card received in a friendly vs. Brazil last November.

Christen Press added a brace of her own in the second half, and Heather O’Reilly, Sydney Leroux and Abby Wambach all added tallies of their own against a Russia side that was reduced to 10 players after defender Valentina Orlovo was sent off with a straight red card in the 68th minute.

It was Lloyd, however, who really stole the show with her two well-taken finishes in the 29th and 37th minutes and a second-half assist.

“I thought she was outstanding,” said U.S. head coach Tom Sermanni. “That output of energy in this sort of game – she was really motivated. I thought from the center of midfield, she dominated the game from in there. … She deserved a hat-trick there and some more goals in the second half.”

Lloyd nearly came up with that third goal late in the first half, but the crossbar denied her. Russia was not able to count on that sort of luck for much of the remainder of the match, as the Americans overwhelmed the visitors by dominating possession and attacking down the flanks. The U.S. finished with 32 shots.

Three of those found the back of the net in the first half. Lloyd opened the scoring with a nifty dribbling run and finish and that was followed by a well-taken, 32nd-minute volley from O’Reilly, who practiced those kinds of shots with the rest of her U.S. teammates during a drill the day before.

“I was in the middle of the box and it was just sort of bouncing around,” said O’Reilly, who assisted on Lloyd’s winner. “I was able to pounce on it the way that I see some of my teammates, like Christen Press, do every single day on the training field. Today was my turn, so I felt good about it.”

Lloyd, who had a black right eye following a collision in training, then added her second of the day. She hit a blast from distance past helpless Russia goalkeeper Elvira Todua after Stephanie Cox whipped in a ball from the left flank.

“It feels great. I’ve been ready to get back on the field,” said Lloyd. “I love training, I love doing fitness, but there’s nothing like a game. That’s rewarding, that’s when you can kind of let everything, all your training unfold and go out there, enjoy it. You don’t think, you just play, and everything kind of comes out with that.”

The Americans came out of the intermission continuing to attack relentlessly against a Russia team that was pinned on its heels from the game’s opening whistle, and Press netted in the 51st minute following a feed from Lloyd.

Leroux scored three minutes later, slipping a shot into the back of the net after Lauren Holiday hit her with a good pass into space. Press then added the U.S.’s sixth of the day in the 59th minute by knocking in a spilled Ali Krieger shot.

“That’s sort of the style of our team,” said Press when asked why the U.S. scored in bunches. “When we get a goal, we get hyped up, we get adrenaline, we were keeping a lot of possession in the first half, kind of wore the other team out a little bit. Once we got a goal, it sort of opened the floodgates. We’ve got such an aggressive attacking group that once there’s a little gap, we’re just running right through it trying to get to the goal.”

Wambach, who somewhat surprisingly did not start the match, capped the scoring a minute before Russia was reduced to 10 women. Amy Rodriguez set up the goal with a nice back-heel pass after a good passing sequence from the U.S.

“It wasn’t so much about just getting in the result,” said Sermanni. “I thought some of the habits and some of the things we’ve been doing in training really came into the game today. I was really pleased about that.”

The Americans will head to Atlanta on Monday ahead of a rematch with Russia at the Georgia Dome on Feb. 12.

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What did you think of the USWNT’s 7-0 win over Russia? Who (really) impressed you? Think the Americans can outdo themselves vs. Russia in Georgia?

Share your thoughts below.

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14 Responses to Lloyd’s first-half brace sets tone as USWNT embarrass Russia

  1. Nico C. says:

    Hopefully it can be bumped up to 10 teams to make it more even. But the 2015 home/away thing works.

    • Nico C. says:

      I apologize. My browser did something weird. That comment was supposed to be for the NWSL 2014 schedule.

  2. Bean says:

    Why rematch? It’ll be a glorified autograph session. I am a supporter of the USWNT, but their opponents are typically pushovers.

    • beto says:

      no one can compete with the USWNT!!! Brazil, Canada … they get close but who else can stack up?

      maybe they should play some games away at Sweden and Germany..

    • Joe+G says:

      There’s a limit to how many times they can play Germany, Japan, Canada & France. They play a variety of decent teams and it usually makes better financial sense for all involved to play more than one match.

  3. Vinny Rutavega says:

    Don’t like the title of the article Franco. Don’t believe in that point of view. To each his own.

    • TJ says:

      Just out of curiosity, what was your view on the game? It’s not like 7-0 suggests a competitive match.

    • Sergio of SF says:

      There is no other way to say it. 7-0 it’s embarrassing, all how the Russians felt after that game.

  4. usaalltheway says:

    Our women’s national team is clearly the best in the world.

    When was the last time they lost? In the World Cup?

    What other team can even keep up?

    • a says:

      none. our women as you said are clearly the best. and we keep churning out better and better players. we need to focus this momentum and develop a world class 12 team league for women.

      • usaalltheway says:

        What is amazing is the score line in most of their games. 7-0, 4-0, 5-1, etc. It’s almost always a rout.

        IMHO it’s proof that if the US had started developing men’s soccer the same time the rest of the world did, the US would be like Germany: every major event would be either first, second or third place.

        Our sporting culture just doesn’t allow for it. Until the glamour and money of basketball, baseball and American football get injected into the MLS and soccer in the States, the US will always remain a second tier nation in the footballing world.

  5. 2tone says:

    The only knock I have about the USWNT is that they rarely test themselves away from home. Besides the Algarve Cup every year, the USWNT rarely plays friendlies outside of the US.

  6. paycheck now says:

    FROM NOW ON AWAY FRIENDLIES FOR THE NT

    except $$$$$, its more profitable for both sides to have the USWNT play at home.