The match began conspicuously enough twenty seconds in when midfielder Carli Lloyd took a feed from Lindsay Tarpley, skirted past a defender, and pushed a shot that sailed high over the crossbar. The shot served more as a warning to Norway, rather than a notice, that Lloyd was in top form, as she wreaked havoc for defenders anytime she entered the vicinity of the goal posts. So it was no surprise that it was Lloyd who scored what ultimately proved to be the lone goal of the match during the 66th minute.
“Lil had an unbelievable cross, and no one (on Norway) was really paying attention, and I found the ball, and made sure it went in.”
But it appeared throughout the early-evening that, after being on the short-end of a few near-misses, it was only a matter of time before the Jersey girl would find the back of the net again. Rather than wallow in praise, the midfielder humbly downplayed the deciding goal.
“I don’t play for the goals - I play to help my team win,” said Lloyd. “It’s not just about my shot, I can pass the ball, I can dribble, and I try to be that complete player. If I end up with a goal, it’s an added bonus.”
A complete player is exactly what Lloyd displayed Saturday evening. When she wasn’t on the front lines putting the ball on net, she was skillfully taking good touches, moving the ball forward, and distributing with a marksman’s accuracy versus a Norwegian team that clearly struggled to contain her.
“Today, it was great, and we happened to win. Norway’s a great team and we played great, and we ended up with a good result," remarked Lloyd after the match.
Surprisingly, it was her first goal since her breakthrough Algarve Cup performance back in March, when she horded four goals in four matches en route to the National Team's capture of the Cup, and earning tournament MVP honors. Since her incredible showing back in Portugal, the well had appeared to have run dry for the flashy midfielder in recent matches.
However, a series of matches does not make a player, as Greg Ryan named Lloyd as one of his chosen players going to China in September days prior to the match. With her all-around performance on Saturday, it’s no wonder that Ryan decided to bring her aboard for the trip to China.
“It’s a dream come true,” Lloyd said of being named to the World Cup roster. “This is what you train for…all of the hard training and fitness, this is what it’s all about. Bringing home that world championship will be the best thing.”