Carli Lloyd entered the USWNT’s June training camp knowing she couldn’t risk taking it easy with just 18 roster spots available for the Tokyo Olympics in July. She didn’t help her case when over-celebrating for a goal where she was clearly offside against Portugal on Thursday.
But anyone who has ever watched Lloyd play knows the last thing you want to do is underestimate her or think she’s getting too old. She proved that once again on Sunday night, scoring 23 seconds in to the USWNT’s 4-0 win over Jamaica in Houston.
Lloyd nearly set two records with one goal. At 38 years and 332 days old, she became the oldest player to ever score for the USWNT, passing cap queen Kristine Lilly. It was also the second-fastest goal the USWNT has ever scored, only behind a goal within 12 seconds Alex Morgan scored against Costa Rica in 2012, the fastest goal in Concacaf history men or women.
The Reggae Girlz didn’t even get a touch of the ball before picking it out of their own net. Lloyd has set so many records over her incredible career (my personal favorite is fastest hat trick in World Cup history set in the 2015 Final), so it’s not surprising to see her set a few more.
Age has nothing on @CarliLloydWith that goal tonight, @CarliLloyd now holds the record as the oldest goal scorer in history at 38 years and 332 days old. She takes over the honor from @KristineLilly. pic.twitter.com/KasKwECARs
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) June 14, 2021
She was hardly the only American scoring on Sunday night.
Perhaps because the USWNT was cooped up all day waiting for a 9:15 p.m. local kickoff, the reigning world champs blitzed Jamaica early. Even in the stifling Houston heat and humidity, the U.S. attacked relentlessly. (Usually this is the point where I complain about a late kickoff for the USWNT, but as a Houston native I completely understand why they waited until well after the sun went down.)
Six minutes in, Christen Press was taken down in the box and Lindsey Horan sent keeper Sydney Schneider the wrong way.
A quick tangent on Lindsey Horan: You know she’s good when she wears the No. 9 jersey, fills in for Julie Ertz as a holding midfielder as well as anyone could possibly hope to replace Ertz and converts penalties better than Lionel Messi. Aside from perhaps Crystal Dunn, I’m not sure there’s a more well-rounded player in the game. She could probably fill in at goalie if needed.
Moving on, the U.S. made it 3-0 within 22 minutes when Midge Purce was left wide freaking open for her second goal in her third career start. Credit Press with the superb pass to find Purce. If there was any question as to Press’ place on the Olympic roster (there wasn’t) it’s been answered by her performances in the last two games.
Purce also showed her versatility on Sunday, scoring as a right winger and moving to right back in the second half.
The U.S. could’ve led by more than three at halftime if not for the woodwork and some impressive Schneider saves, including one shot from Lloyd she unwittingly blocked with her face.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 14, 2021
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all great news for the USWNT in the first half. Rose Lavelle, who had been playing with superb confidence in the opening half hour, had to come out with another injury in the 33rd minute. U.S. fans will hope it’s just precautionary with the Olympics less than six weeks away.
The first-half offensive outburst was a sharp contrast to a nervy 1-0 win over Portugal on Thursday, a game in which the U.S. had to wait 76 minutes for Sam Mewis to score the game’s only goal. Jamaica, which was coming off a 1-0 win over Nigeria on Thursday, couldn’t mount nearly the same defensive fortitude as Portugal, though it should be noted the Reggae Girlz were playing without leading scorer Khadija “Bunny” Shaw.
Despite the introduction of Alex Morgan, the second half didn’t bring the same goal barrage as the opening 22 minutes did, with Jamaica able to mostly stop the bleeding. Morgan scored the final goal in the 92nd minute, showing impressive strength to head the ball past Schneider.
Can't leave @alexmorgan13 open like that
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 14, 2021
The U.S. entered the game averaging 7.3 goals per game against the Reggae Girlz, so this was one of their best performances against the U.S.
The USWNT is back in action on Wednesday with a friendly against Nigeria at Q2 Stadium in Austin, because the USWNT just loves that Texas heat apparently.