Nobody Went After It More Than Carli Lloyd

The retiring USWNT star could make something happen when nothing seemed to be going right.

She would hate it, but there’s no way to talk about the career of Carli Lloyd—who announced Monday that she would be retiring from professional soccer after four more games with the U.S. women’s national team and the conclusion of this National Women’s Soccer League season—without talking about that goal.

It starts with a bad Japanese giveaway. When Lloyd first touches the ball, on the edge of the center circle nearest to her goal, the situation could not possibly be more innocuous. Nine American players are behind her. Alex Morgan, the option ahead, takes off at a sprint, a perfectly reasonable thing to do in this scenario.

Lloyd’s first touch is a bad one, but with her second, she jabs a foot out and pokes the ball past the defender, who nearly takes it from her. Then, it’s her third that bites all the way through the Tootsie Pop. With the ball just a step past the center line, Lloyd reared back with the leg that would spark rumors she could jump to the NFL one day and hit the perfect 54-yard flat-arced lob. Japanese goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori—who wasn’t even that far off her line—backpedaled furiously and got a hand to it, just enough to push it off the post and in. Fifteen minutes and four seconds had passed in the 2015 World Cup final. The U.S. led 4–0, with three of those goals belonging to Lloyd.

Written by: Eric Betts