US Women claim third World Cup title

Published Monday, July 6, 2015 7:45 AM by Shane Barrow
US Women claim third World Cup title

What a performance.  Sometimes everything just comes together and on Sunday in Vancouver, Canada the American women put on a performance to be remember on the world’s biggest stage.  All the pressure.  All the expectations.  They said it was not about revenge.  But it was evident right from the start that this one was different. This would be an American day.

Carli Loyd and the US women came out with a vengeance and stepped on an overwhelmed Japan side from the opening whistle.  Before the defending champions knew what hit them the game was already settled.  Four goals within the opening twenty minutes decided this one quickly and left little drama over the remaining hour of play.

A sellout crowd of 53,341 that included US Vice President Joe Biden almost could not believe their eyes.  Nobody expected the American onslaught.  Two goals from set pieces had the USA in front within five minutes.  First a corner kick and then a free kick both from the right both put home by Carli Loyd.  

The rout was on.  Lauren Holiday would blast home a nice volley making it 3-0 before Loyd would score the goal of the tournament in the 16th minute.  Picking up the ball on her half of the field Carli surged forward.  After reaching the center stripe she recognized the Japan keeper was well off her line.  Loyd blasted from 60 yards and her shot was true just going over the scrambling keeper and into the net.  What a goal to make it 4-0.

Credit to Japan though.  They could have wilted under the shock, but they honorably put up a fight.  Two first half substitutes brought the team to life and they grabbed a goal back to send the match to halftime 4-1.  Still an insurmountable deficit, but at least there was some fight in them.

A Julie Johnston own goal after the restart pulled Japan to within 4-2.  That would be the end though as Tobin Heath squelched any thoughts of a rally by making it 5-2 only two minutes later.  It was celebration time from there as it was just a matter of watching the clock and seeing out the historic victory.

Coach Jill Ellis had her tactics and lineups criticized early in the World Cup tournament when the American  offense sputtered, but she got it right in the end.  She shifted Lloyd to an attacking midfielder in the semifinal against top ranked Germany and again in the final, and put young Morgan Brian in a defensive midfield role.

The win marks the third time the US women have captured the World Cup title.  Carli Loyd was the hero.  She put the team on her back and willed them to victory.  She won the golden ball as the best player of the tournament deservedly so.

"It's been a long journey, my career. I've had a lot of people believe in me, in my corner, from day one," said the midfield, who turns 33 on July 16. "I've dedicated my whole life to this. Everything else comes second. But I wouldn't want to do it any other way."