The U.S. women’s soccer team made history this year, and in its penultimate 2019 game it began a new era under coach Vlatko Andonovski on Thursday in Columbus, Ohio.
Andonovski is the ninth head coach in program history, following Jill Ellis, who stepped down last month after a decorated tenure that saw her become the first coach to lead a team to victory twice at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which she did in 2015 and earlier this year.
It took just 30 minutes for veteran Carli Lloyd to show her stuff in front of the new coach, scoring two goals and adding an assist en route to a 3-2 win.
Facing the Swedes for the first time since beating them 2-0 to win Group F at the World Cup, Lloyd and the U.S. got things started just six minutes into the game.
Christen Press chipped a perfect pass over to the hard-charging Lloyd, who scored her 119th international goal and team-leading 14th goal of the year to make it 1-0. Then in the 28th minute, after the defense made a stop, Press took on two defenders and beat them both before putting the ball in the back of the net for her 50th goal and a 2-0 lead.
Moments later, Lloyd, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, struck again. Tobin Heath gut crunched just after heading the ball, but it found its spot as Lloyd got to it and sent a high-arcing shot past goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl to make it 3-0.
Sweden made it a contest late in the game with a pair of goals from Anna Anvegard in the 75th and 79th minutes.
Lloyd had a chance for the hat trick with a penalty kick but put the shot over the top of the net.
The U.S. will have one more friendly in 2019, a match against Costa Rica on Sunday, before hosting the Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Tournament beginning in January.