USA vs. Japan Women's Olympic Soccer: Carli Lloyd Shows She Deserves Spotlight
By scoring two goals in Team USA's gold-medal match against Japan at the London 2012 Games, Carli Lloyd proved that she deserves some attention from the American public.
The storylines of these London Games have revolved around the looks of Alex Morgan, the possibility of this being Abby Wambach's last Olympics and the overall firepower of Team USA as a whole.
We seldom heard about Lloyd's talents throughout this tournament, despite the fact that she tallied four goals in six games played.
It is our own fault for not crediting Lloyd enough for the success of this team. Her impact was evident from the opening match, when she came on as a sub and scored the go-ahead goal in the 56th minute against France to complete the American comeback.
She then put the cap on the United States' 3-0 win over Colombia in the second game of group play to give her team a comfortable lead in both the match and the standings.
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Even when she couldn't get back into the scoring groove, she contributed in other ways. Lloyd drew a pair of fouls in her team's 1-0 win over the Republic of Korea and helped grind the United States to a 2-0 win over New Zealand .
Lloyd was subbed in in the 17th minute of the opening match and didn't miss a minute after that. She played in every minute of every game right until the last whistle of the gold-medal match.
The 30-year-old Rutgers graduate stole the show during Thursday's gold-medal match right from the outset.
Her first goal was sparked by Morgan, who dribbled into the box toward the end line and chipped a short cross into the box. Lloyd came running in at full speed and used her head to bounce the ball at the ground and into the back of the net to give the Americans a lead, eight minutes in.
The second one was much more impressive.
Lloyd brought the ball toward the top of the box with three Japanese defenders surrounding her and shot cross-body into the side netting of the far post.
Without her pinpoint precision, we could have seen a much different result than what in fact transpired at Wembley Stadium.
It was an injury to Shannon Boxx that gave Lloyd the starting job back, and she seized the moment. She proved that she is not only one of the best players on Team USA, but also one of the best in the world.
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