FOOTBALL: Lloyd leads U.S. women to 6-0 win over Costa Rica in final match of the year

U.S. midfield star Rose Lavelle

Alex Morgan who?

The amazing Carli Lloyd, 37, has been a scoring machine for the U.S. women’s National Team and continued right from the start in the final match of the year against Costa Rica, in Jacksonville, Florida.

After scoring twice against Sweden on Thursday, including the opener in the sixth minute, Lloyd was the beneficiary of a seeing-eye pass from Rose Lavelle from the midfield to the left side in the fourth minute. Lloyd lifted the ball over the head of Costa Rican keeper Noelia Bermudez and into the far right side of the net for a 1-0 lead. It was Lloyd’s 121st career goal for the U.S. team and a team-high 16th in 2019.

With Morgan out on maternity into 2020, Lloyd has been making the most of her opportunity to showcase her scoring ability for new coach Vlatko Andonovski.

Lavelle wasn’t done and was on fire in the midfield in the early minutes. Midfielder Julie Ertz found her five minutes later in the middle of the field and she made an almost identical pass that gave midfielder Morgan Brian a clear shot at goal from the left side. Brian sent an arcing shot past Bermudez for a 2-0 lead just 10 minutes in.

The U.S. continued to press, but couldn’t come up with another goal. Both teams had 50% of the possession in the half, but the Americans had all of the good chances and a 7-2 lead in shots.

The U.S. started hot in the second half, with halftime sub Lynn Williams taking a lead pass into the middle of the field, eluding two defenders, then whipping the ball back to the left corner past Bermudez for a 3-0 advantage.

Christen Press hit the post on an open goal in the 55th minute, but got the ball back in the middle of the box a minute later and after faking to her right, popped a left-footed laser into the net for a 4-0 lead. Williams got another goal in the 68th minute on a right-footed shot off a loose ball in the box. Margaret Purce sailed a shot from the right endline in the 86th minute which deflected off of defender Stephanie Blanco for an own goal and the 6-0 final.

Melissa Herrera got the best chance at a goal for Costa Rica, hitting the crossbar from the right side of the box in the 62nd minute. She hit the crossbar again in the 76th minute, just over the outstretched hand of substitute U.S. keeper Adrianna Franch.

The U.S. dominated play in the second half and ended the game with a 52-48% possession edge and a 17-6 edge in shots.

The Americans extended their perfect all-time record against Costa Rica to 15-0-0. However, the two will play a much more meaningful match next year on 3 February during group play in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Houston.

The U.S. women finishes their triumphant 2019 with a 20-1-3 record and was 20-0-3 after an opening loss in France way back in January. It also gave new Andonovski a perfect 2-0-0 in his first month on the job. It will be a year long remembered.