On Thursday, Carli Lloyd, the Veteran striker, scored her 115th goal of international career as the all-conquering United States thrashed Portugal 4-0 in the latest leg of their World Cup victory tour. Before a record crowd of 49,504 fans at Lincoln Financial Field, the Philadelphia native Lloyd stimulated home with a close-range finish in the 52nd minute to put the US 3-0 up. The attendance figure was the highest ever on US soil for a women’s friendly international.
Lloyd celebrated by waving her arms in a gesture associated with the city’ Philadelphia Eagles NFL team. She was handed the captain’s armband for the night in front of her hometown crowd. By the time Lloyd pounced for her goal, the four-time world champions were already in total control. Julie Ertz had helped set up the opener after just four minutes, releasing Christen Press down the left flank who crossed for Tobin Heath to finish.
Christine then assisted for the second USA goal, swinging in an inviting corner which found an unmarked Morgan Brian whose downward header deceived Portugal goalkeeper Patricia Morais and bounced into the net. The home fans celebrated as Lloyd’s goal early in the second half kept the party atmosphere bubbling away.
Lloyd crossed for Allie Long to score with a near-post header that made it to 4-0. The five-game victory tour was arranged following the US women’s successful defence of their World Cup crown in France last month. Next Tuesday, the US women will face Portugal in a second game in Saint Paul, Minnesota, before completing the series with back-to-back games against South Korea on October 3 and 10.
The game marked the final weeks of US coach Jill Ellis’s reign in charge of the team. She will step down in October as the only female coach to win back-to-back World Cups. The tour is also taking place against a backdrop of tension between the US women’s team and the United States Soccer Federation. There will be a trial due in May 2020 as the US women are suing the federation for gender discrimination, alleging unequal pay and working conditions.