Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan each scored to propel the U.S. women’s national team to a 2-0 victory over New Zealand at the Estádio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on Wednesday in their Olympic opener.

Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan Lead USWNT To 2-0 Win Over New Zealand

The U.S. is seeking to become the first reigning Women’s World Cup champion to win the Olympic gold medal. Wednesday’s victory means the Americans will have the maximum three points when they face World No. 3 France in their second group stage game on Saturday.

Lloyd, who is the team’s co-captain alongside Becky Sauerbrunn, opened scoring in the ninth minute. Following a stellar cross from just outside the left side of the box by Tobin Heath, the Houston Dash midfielder jumped to head the ball in from just a few feet away, sinking the ball right inside the left post to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead with her 89th international goal.

The last time Lloyd played for the women’s national team, she scored three goals in the first 16 minutes of the 2015 World Cup Final. Funnily enough, the 34-year-old began the 2012 Olympics on the bench and only entered the game when an early injury arose. She capped that gold-medal run with two goals in the finals.

ESPN Stats & Info revealed just how close Lloyd is to breaking former USWNT player Abby Wambach’s Olympic scoring record:


Lloyd recently told Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl that she wanted to win a gold medal this year, another World Cup three years from now, and then one more gold medal in 2020 before finally retiring. She is the reigning World Player of the Year.

Morgan doubled the lead just one minute into the second half. Morgan Brian fed the Orlando Pride forward a short ground pass into the box, and the fast Morgan fired a low left-foot drive just inside the near post and past goalkeeper Erin Nayler. 


The U.S., led by coach Jill Ellis, dominated possession (64-36), although it struggled to figure out New Zealand’s defense aside from the two goals.

Beginning in the second half, goalie Hope Solo was booed by local supporters at Estádio Mineirão, with fans chanting “Zika” every time she cleared the ball from her penalty box.

The controversial goalkeeper has been outspoken about her concerns over traveling to Brazil due to the mosquito-borne Zika virus. Earlier this week, she posted a photo of herself on Twitter wearing a beekeeper’s mask and holding a giant bottle of insect repellent. Solo’s picture was widely reported by the Brazliian media.

Former national team player and NBC analyst Kate Markgraf insisted the U.S would use the Solo taunts as motivation.

“The last thing you want to do is to give any reason for the U.S to come together,” Markgraf said. “You give them something to focus on instead of getting worried about how they will perform, that can only be a positive for them.”

Solo made one save on Wednesday.

France will surely prove to be a much tougher opponent for the USWNT. Les Bleus went to the quarterfinals of last summer’s World Cup and recorded a win over the Americans in 2015. The USWNT won the last meeting between the two teams, 1-0.

Despite strong competition, some still believe the USWNT is the favorite to win the Olympics.


New Zealand picked up three yellow cards. After France, the US will then face Colombia on Tuesday.

CHESTER, PENNSYLVANIA – APRIL 10: Carli Lloyd #10 of the United States controls the ball against Colombia at Talen Energy Stadium on April 10, 2016 in Chester, Pennsylvania. The United States defeated Colombia 3-0. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

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