August 6, 2016
SAME OLD, SAME OLD
Lloyd's goal, Solo's superb saves lift undefeated USA women over France in Olympics
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil -- A pair of familiar heroes did their thing for the United States, which moved closer to clinching a quarterfinal berth at the Rio Olympics Saturday.
|Carli Lloyd did it again for the USA, scoring the lone goal of the match in the 1-0 win over France.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Midfielder Carli Lloyd scored the lone goal and goalkeeper Hope Solo stopped everything sent her way as the top-ranked Americans survived a late onslaught by No. 3 France, 1-0, in Group G at the Rio Olympics.
The win boosted the USA to a 2-0-0 mark and all but sealed their sixth consecutive appearance in the knockout round. France fell to 1-1-0.
The Americans could move on to the knockout round if New Zealand defeat Colombia or the teams played to a draw in a match scheduled later in the day.
Lloyd, who scored the winning goal in the past two gold-medal matches, struck for her second goal of the competition in the 63rd minute. Tobin Heath fired a left-footed shot that ricocheted off the left post to Lloyd, who slotted the ball home from three yards for her eighth Olympic goal, 11th of the year and 90th of her international career.
The 2015 FIFA world player of the year became the first American woman to score multiple goals in three separate Olympics.
On the other side of the field, Solo was superb, catching or knocking away everything the French sent her way as she became the first woman keeper to make 200 international appearances.
The USA made two changes in its starting lineup as head coach Jill Ellis decided to rest center back Julie Johnston (groin soreness) and midfielder Mallory Pugh (picked up a knock in the 2-0 win over New Zealand) in favor of Whitney Engen and Crystal Dunn of Rockville Centre, N.Y.
The French took the game to the Americans in the opening 20 minutes, enjoying more possession and sending the ball into the penalty area on more occasions.
In fact, USA goalkeeper Hope Solo was put to the test, enduring as busy a half as she has had in quite a while as she was
France's most dangerous chance came in the 16th minute when Wendie Renard beat her marker, Allie Long, and headed a Louisa Cadamuro free kick off the crossbar and off the hand of goalkeeper Hope Solo for a corner kick.
Solo also made a two-handed save on Marie Laure Delie's 18-yard shot at the near left post in the 26th minute and denied Amandine Henry in the 41st minute.
All of the Americans' opportunities came off of Tobin Heath free kicks, the closest of which was a 18-yard attempt that just went over the crossbar in the 35th minute.
Solo was in the zone in the second half, as she made a diving stop on Delie's header in the 77th minute and another on Renard's header six minutes later.