Carli Lloyd celebrates her first goal of the game during the first half against Paraguay on Sept. 16, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio.
There was no chance Carli Lloyd was going to go quietly.
Playing in the first of her four final games in a U.S. shirt, Lloyd netted four first-half goals and five total Saturday night in Cleveland to lead a 9-0 rout of Paraguay. Lloyd tied the team’s single-game scoring record and moved into third place all time on the U.S. scoring chart with 133 career goals, trailing only Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm. Andi Sullivan added two goals while Lynn Williams and Tobin Heath scored one apiece in a dominant U.S. performance.
“That was fun,” Lloyd said afterward. “I’m just trying to savor it because I want time to go a little bit slower. One game is down, and I have three left. But great game, good to be out there with my teammates, and overall a good performance.”
Playing in its first match since winning bronze at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Lloyd gave the U.S. a two-goal lead inside the first six minutes as Paraguay was quickly overwhelmed by pressure. After goals from Sullivan and Williams, Lloyd completed the hat trick in the 34th minute. On a ball played into the box, Lloyd managed to sneak a touch despite a defender draped all over her. It wasn’t quite as fast as the famous 16-minute hat trick she had in the 2015 Women’s World Cup final, but it was yet another memorable performance in a career full of them.
Lloyd would add one more goal before halftime followed by her fifth in the 61st minute, sandwiching Sullivan’s second goal early in the second half. Heath scored in the 86th minute to cap the scoring. Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, who started in the bronze-medal game in Tokyo, recorded the shutout without having to make a save. The U.S. enjoyed 76 percent possession against Paraguay, which was playing its first ever international friendly against Team USA.
The U.S. extended its home unbeaten streak to 59 matches; a streak that will be at risk again in a rematch with Paraguay in Cincinnati on Sept. 21. The Americans will then play their final two home matches of 2021 against South Korea on Oct. 21 and Oct. 26, which will be Lloyd’s farewell match.