New England Soccer Today

World Champs!

Photo credit: U.S. Soccer

Photo credit: U.S. Soccer

Carli Lloyd collected the fastest hat trick in Women’s World Cup history to send the U.S. to its first championship since 1999 after they beat Japan 5-2 in Sunday’s final at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, Canada.

Lloyd, who scored in three straight games going into Sunday’s match, opened the scoring in the third minute, then struck two more times in the fifth and 16th minutes. She finished the tournament with six goals.

Former Boston Breakers midfielder Lauren Holiday and Tobin Heath both joined Lloyd on the scoresheet with strikes in the 14th and 54th minutes, respectively.

Japan pulled one back in the 27th minute when Yuki Ogimi scored to snap the U.S.’s shutout streak at 540 minutes, while a Julie Johnston own goal gave them their second tally.

Sunday’s win – which was the opposite the result of the 2011 final between the two sides – gave the U.S. its third World Cup championship (1991, 1999, 2015). The five goals conceded by Japan was the most since 1999.

The U.S. and Japan also met in the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal game, which the Americans won 2-1 on the back of two goals from – who else – Lloyd.

The U.S. wasted no time putting their stamp on the match in front of 53,314 fans, many of whom were wearing red, white and blue and waving American flags. Inside of three minutes, Megan Rapinoe sent a low corner kick into the area, where Lloyd pounced on it and put it through to send the pro-U.S. crowd into jubilation.

But the celebrations didn’t end there. Two minutes after opening the account, Lloyd struck again when she got a hold of a bouncing ball inside the box and tapped it into the net.

Despite grabbing an early two-goal lead, the U.S. refused to ease off the gas. In the 14th minute, Holiday seized a mis-hit clearance from Japan and buried it from close range to extend the lead to three.

Lloyd showed that her match was far from done moments after Holiday’s strike. After spotting keeper Ayumi Kaihori off her line, Lloyd chipped a shot from the center circle and watched it fall into the back of the net to widen the margin at four.

Conceding four early goals put Japan in an unfortunate position, but to their credit, they refused to quit. After the U.S. dropped numbers, Ogimi took the ball near the box, turned and fired it past Hope Solo to score the first goal against the U.S. since their first group stage game against Australia.

Japan burned its first two substitutes before halftime in an effort to climb back into the match. Homare Sawa entered the match in the 35th minute while Yuika Sugasawa came on four minutes later.

After the break, Japan was able to pull within two goals in the 52nd minute after Julie Johnston inadvertently flicked a Saki Kumagai cross into the U.S. net.

But the U.S. reclaimed its three-goal lead when Heath grabbed a pass from Morgan Brian and buried it in the 54th minute.

Former Boston Breakers forward Kelley O’Hara came on in the 61st minute for Rapinoe, who set up the U.S.’s first goal.

Sugasawa found an opportunity to cut the deficit in the 76th minute when she nodded a pass from fellow substitute Miyama on frame. But Solo diagnosed the play perfectly and hauled in the header with ease.

After witnessing the U.S. come up short in their previous three World Cups, longtime striker Abby Wambach came on in the 79th minute, and was joined by fellow stalwart Christie Rampone, who entered in the 86th minute, to help see the game out.

Sunday’s match was the highest-scoring final in Women’s World Cup history.

Leave a Reply