In one of the most dominant displays that we’ve seen in a cup final, men or women, there are plenty of players that could have been named the Player of the Match.
But after breaking history in an already historic match, Carli Lloyd took this game by the scruff of the neck. Her early hat trick, the fastest in Women’s World Cup history, set the mentality for the rest of the game. Japan spent the rest of the game breathlessly trying to catch up. For the US Women’s team, it became a question of how many.
Lloyd’s first goal was well hit and definitely practiced. You can fault Japan’s defense for allowing the corner to make it all the way to Lloyd, but the shot was well-placed and powerful.
Her second goal was simply predatory. The ball was poorly cleared and Lloyd was in the right place at the right time. She made it look easy, but it took great goalscoring instincts.
The first two goals, and the USA’s fourth on the night, were good, but it was Lloyd’s third that will enter the history books. What a strike. Lloyd receives the ball outside the half circle. Dribbling the ball over the halfway line, she looks up to see the keeper out.
And then Lloyd just hits it. It’s a clean, accurate strike. Japan’s keeper sees it too late. In her panic to get back in the net she trips. As the ball sailed over her head, the Japanese keeper gets a desperate hand on the ball but it’s not enough.
The rest of the match, Lloyd looked dangerous. She pressed the Japanese defense and looked likely to get another the whole game. She worked tirelessly, aiding in possession and defense when needed. Aside for one or two missed chances, it is difficult to find fault with Carli Lloyd’s game tonight.
This game should solidify Carli Lloyd as a US Women’s Soccer legend. Easily.