A statement goal from Carli Lloyd likely punched her ticket to the Olympics

Lloyd scored just 23 seconds into the United States' 4-0 win over Jamaica on Sunday night. “I think she’s in a really good place,” U.S. manager Vlatko Andonovski said.

He’s right for reasons that go beyond the field. During the pandemic, Lloyd reconciled with family members from whom she’d stayed away for many years; had the first major surgery of her career; and split from her longtime trainer James Galanis.

The first move refreshed her mentally and the other two refreshed her physically, with the new trainer — Jefferson University’s Danny Madaroski — installing a different kind of workout regimen.

Lloyd also said those changes “wouldn’t have happened” if the pandemic hadn’t postponed the Olympics by a year.

“I’ve been doing so much studying of different forwards: positioning, runs, checking into the pocket, getting in behind the backline, different finishing, being better with my first touch, being better with [my] back to goal, holding the ball up,” she said. “There’s been so many things that I’ve worked on and tried to finesse in the last year or so. So I’m actually, I think, in a better position than I was back in 2020.”

Written by: Jonathan Tannenwald