Julie Ertz controls the ball against Costa Rica in a friendly on Nov. 10, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida.
The first touch Sunday night for Carli Lloyd was perfect.
Three days after scoring two goals and assisting on a third in a 3-2 U.S. victory over Sweden, Lloyd streaked down the left wing, received a pass from Rose Lavelle and drilled home a goal in the fourth minute of a 6-0 win over Costa Rica.
Lloyd, a three-time Olympian and the team captain in Sunday night’s game played at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, scored eight goals in her final seven games of 2019.
Lavelle also set up a goal by Morgan Brian in the 10th minute.
Lynn Williams, who scored her first international goal 49 seconds into her national team debut in 2016, entered the game in the second half and responded with two goals. Christen Press also scored in the second half. The sixth score came on an own goal by Costa Rica.
The game was not only the final match of the year for the U.S. women, but a preview of one of the Group A Olympic qualifying matches they will play in January and February in Houston.
The U.S. women finished their year on a 23-game unbeaten streak and with a 20-1-3 record.
Despite winning the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the U.S. still needs to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in the Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Tournament that will be held in Houston and Edinburg, Texas, and Carson, California. The U.S. opens tournament play Jan. 28 against Haiti at BBVA Stadium in Houston.
Sunday’s game was the second under new head coach Vlatko Andonovski, who made his debut in Thursday’s 3-2 win over Sweden.
The U.S. played Costa Rica without several of its World Cup stars, including Golden Boot winner Megan Rapinoe, Silver Boot winner Alex Morgan, Crystal Dunn, Ali Krieger, Kelly O’Hara and Tierna Davison. Morgan is pregnant with her first child; the others are injured.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic & Paralympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.