In what could be their final appearance for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, two of Team USA’s top stars sparkled with a pair of goals each in a 4-3 win over Australia to capture bronze at the Tokyo Olympics.
The second most capped player in USWNT history with 312 appearances, Carli Lloyd, 39, scored two goals and set the U.S. women’s record for most career Olympic goals in the process. Lloyd’s goals in stoppage time in the first half and the 51st minute of the second gave her 10 total at the Olympics, passing Abby Wambach.
Lloyd’s offensive onslaught was equalled by her 36-year-old teammate Megan Rapinoe, who scored twice — including a rare olimpico, or a goal directly from a corner kick — in what could also be her final major international appearance.
“We played well, we strung some really good sequences together, scored some great goals,” Lloyd said. “And I’m extremely proud of the way we persevered, they way we turned things around. We’re going home with a medal, and there’s no greater feeling than that.”
After all, taking home a bronze is better than being left off the podium entirely, which is what happened to the USWNT five summers ago in Rio, or missing the Olympics entirely — as was the case with the men’s team for this summer’s Games.
“I felt like we just had a good vibe going into the game. We’ve done, as you can imagine, lots of talking and meetings and hashing it all out and doing the autopsy,” Rapinoe said. “But I felt like we just got to a good place.”
And it may be a good place for both women to call it quits.
“If Thursday was in fact Lloyd’s last dance, and perhaps even Rapinoe’s, they’ll have sent two legends out in style,” Henry Bushnell writes for Yahoo Sports. “Or, rather, those legends will have gone out in style. Lloyd was her typical raging-bull self, and finished her two chances expertly. Rapinoe reminded all of us that, when on top of her game, her combination of confidence, technical ability and smarts is unmatched. Neither will go out as they’d surely imagined, in a rocking stadium, with gold medals around their necks. Both, nonetheless, will go out in a fashion befitting two of the greatest players to ever wear a USWNT jersey.”
It was a good day for the U.S. against Australia on the basketball court as well, as Team USA beat the Aussies 97-78 to clinch a spot in Saturday’s gold-medal game against France. Australia will go for the bronze in hoops against Slovenia.
Canada plays Sweden in the gold medal match in women’s soccer on Thursday night at 10 p.m. EST.