USWNT rests starters, beats Chile in Women's World Cup

The United States kept rolling at the 2019 Women’s World Cup on Sunday, following up a 13-0 demolition of Thailand with another win and more broken records.

This time Carli Lloyd was the history-maker, bagging two first-half goals in a 3-0 victory over Chile – and propelling the U.S. to the knockout rounds.

Lloyd became the first player to score in six consecutive World Cup appearances, and the oldest – at 36 years and 11 months – to nab multiple goals in a Women’s World Cup game.

Lloyd’s dominant display came on a day the U.S. rested six starters. The comfort with which it eased to three points anyway highlighted its absurd depth, and reinforced its status as tournament favorite.

Carli Lloyd’s scoring spree continues

Lloyd scored in every knockout-round match at the 2015 World Cup as a midfielder. Her famous hat trick in the final led the U.S. to the top of the women’s soccer world.

Four years later, she came off the bench to extend her streak against Thailand. On Sunday, she started up front and broke the deadlock on 11 minutes:

Lloyd appeared to mock criticism of the team’s celebrations against Thailand with a golf clap after her opener.

Later in the half, after Julie Ertz put the U.S. up 2-0 with a trademark header, Lloyd posterized a Chilean defender to nod home her second, and the team’s third:

She bombarded the Chilean goal all half. She hit the post three minutes in. She had other efforts saved by Chilean keeper Christiane Endler, who was the only reason 3-0 wasn’t 6-0.

After being drawn back into a midfield role for the second half, Lloyd remained one of the most influential players on the field. And she could have had a hat trick, but dragged a late penalty wide of the post.

Still, her performance, and the team’s, showcased the talent up and down this USWNT roster.

Jill Ellis rotates and tinkers

The U.S. demolished Thailand with a mostly first-choice starting 11. In a comfortable position atop the group, with a place in the knockout rounds all but clinched, U.S. coach Jill Ellis made seven changes to her lineup for the Chile match.

Lloyd, Christen Press, Mal Pugh, Morgan Brian, Ali Krieger, Tierna Davidson and Becky Sauerbrunn came in.

Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, Rose Lavelle, Sam Mewis, Kelley O’Hara and Crystal Dunn dropped to the bench.

The changes worked as planned. Lloyd kept rolling. The result was never in doubt. Everybody is happy. With Jessica McDonald, Allie Long and Emily Sonnett entering as second-half subs, all American outfield players have now gotten game time. The ones who’ll be counted on in the knockout rounds are well-rested.

Ellis and the U.S. also piloted a few tactical wrinkles. Krieger and Davidson sometimes played as “inverted” fullbacks, coming inside to help the U.S. circulate possession while central midfielders provided width.

The Americans pinned Chile in its defensive third and thoroughly controlled the match, even if they only put three past Endler. Their first two games in France couldn’t have gone much better.

Alyssa Naeher’s first shaky moment

If there was one worrying moment, it was a Chile free kick midway through the first half. It will be forgotten thanks to an offside flag. But Alyssa Naeher, long considered one of the USWNT’s few potential weaknesses, flapped at the ball as she rushed off her line, an offside Chilean attacker bearing down on her:

That and Lindsey Horan’s yellow card – which means a second in any of the next three games would earn her a suspension – were just about the only negatives for the U.S.

U.S. fans take over Paris

For the second time in six days, the U.S. might as well have been playing at home away from home. Tens of thousands of Americans descended on Paris. Thousands marched through the streets to Parc des Princes:

The 48,583-seat stadium was full of red, white and blue. And many of those same fans will be hoping to be back in the capital for a quarterfinal – possibly against the hosts.

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USWNT highlights from the Women's World Cup
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USWNT highlights from the Women's World Cup
LYON, FRANCE - JULY 07: Sari Van Veenendaal of the Netherlands reaches for the ball as Rose Lavelle of the USA scores her team's second goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Final match between The United States of America and The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon on July 07, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Richard Heathcote - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
LYON, FRANCE - JULY 07: Alex Morgan of the USA is fouled by Stefanie Van der Gragt of the Netherlands leading to a penalty during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Final match between The United States of America and The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon on July 07, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)
LYON, FRANCE - JULY 07: Megan Rapinoe of the USA celebrates with teammate Alex Morgan after scoring her team's first goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Final match between The United States of America and The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon on July 07, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Alex Caparros - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
LYON, FRANCE - JULY 07: Megan Rapinoe of the USA celebrates with teammates after scoring her team's first goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Final match between The United State of America and The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon on July 07, 2019 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Naomi Baker - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
United States' Alex Morgan, left, competes for the ball against France's Elise Bussaglia during the Women's World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between France and the United States at the Parc des Princes, in Paris, Friday, June 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
United States goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher (1) deflects the ball away from France's Valerie Gauvin during the Women's World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between France and the United States at the Parc des Princes, in Paris, Friday, June 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
United States' Megan Rapinoe celebrates after scoring her side's second goal during the Women's World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between France and the United States at the Parc des Princes, in Paris, Friday, June 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Players of England celebrate after winning the Women's World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Norway and England at the Oceane stadium in Le Havre, France, Thursday, June 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
United States' Kelley O Hara leaps over Sweden's Kosovare Asllani during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between Sweden and the United States at Stade Océane, in Le Havre, France, Thursday, June 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 16: Julie Ertz of USA #8 celebrates her goal with Mallory Pugh, Lindsey Horan, Morgan Brian during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between USA and Chile at Parc des Princes stadium on June 16, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
LE HAVRE, FRANCE - JUNE 20: Lindsey Horan of the USA scores her team's first goal the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between Sweden and USA at Stade Oceane on June 20, 2019 in Le Havre, France. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
United States' Carli Lloyd, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring their side's third goal during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between United States and Chile at Parc des Princes in Paris, France, Sunday, June 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Chile goalkeeper Claudia Endler lunges for the ball to make a safe during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between United States and Chile at Parc des Princes in Paris, France, Sunday, June 16, 2019. US won 3-0. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
United States' Carli Lloyd celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between the United States and Chile at the Parc des Princes in Paris, Sunday, June 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
United States' Carli Lloyd, left, celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between United States and Chile at Parc des Princes in Paris, France, Sunday, June 16, 2019. Lloyd scored twice in US' 3-0 victory. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
United States' Megan Rapinoe, right, congratulates teammate Alex Morgan after scoring her fifth goal during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between the United States and Thailand at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, France, Tuesday, June 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
United States' Alex Morgan, centre, scores her team's fifth goal during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between the United States and Thailand at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, France, Tuesday, June 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
REIMS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: Mallory Pugh of USA shots to goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between USA and Thailand at Stade Auguste Delaune on June 11, 2019 in Reims, France. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
REIMS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: Megan Rapinoe of United States of America celebrates with the supporters after the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between USA and Thailand at Stade Auguste Delaune on June 11, 2019 in Reims, France. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
REIMS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: Mallory Pugh of the USA celebrates after scoring her team's eleventh goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between USA and Thailand at Stade Auguste Delaune on June 11, 2019 in Reims, France. (Photo by Cathrin Mueller - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
REIMS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: Final score on the scoreboard after the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between USA and Thailand at Stade Auguste Delaune on June 11, 2019 in Reims, France. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
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