PARIS (AP) — Carli Lloyd wasn’t thrilled to open the Women’s World Cup on the bench for the United States. She accepted the role, but made no secret she wanted to start.
When the call came Sunday, Lloyd made it count with a pair of goals to lead the defending champions to a 3-0 victory over Chile. The win pushed the United States into the round of 16.
Lloyd was the hero of the World Cup in Canada four years ago when she scored three goals in the final against Japan that gave the Americans their third World Cup title. But she was on the bench when the U.S. opened the tournament, even though she scored later as a substitute in the 13-0 victory over Thailand.
“I know that my ability is there, I know this is my best version of me. I’ve just got to go out there and prove it,” she said. “Whether that’s coming off the bench and making an impact, whether that’s starting and getting the opportunity, which I’m grateful for, I’m just trying to make the most of it. I want to win.”
Lloyd became the first player to score in six straight World Cup matches with her goal in the 11th minute.
She added another on a header off a corner in the 35th for her 10th career World Cup goal, which moved her into third on the U.S. list behind Abby Wambach (14) and Michelle Akers (12). At 36, she became the oldest player to have a multi-goal game in the tournament.
She nearly got another hat trick — which would have made her the first player with two in the World Cup — but her penalty kick in the 81st minute went wide left.
“It’s haunting me right now,” Lloyd said. “Wasn’t good enough.”
The score could have been worse for Chile without unshakable goalkeeper Christiane Endler, who finished with six saves and fended off a flurry of U.S. shots in the second half.
Endler was named player of the match.
“I love the balls coming towards me and being able to showcase my skills,” she said through a translator. “Obviously it’s difficult to maintain concentration. I think in the first half it was difficult for me to get into the game. I think the second half went better for me and in general for the team.”