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Soccer: Carli Lloyd scores five goals, U.S. women dominate Paraguay

Soccer: Carli Lloyd scores five goals, U.S. women dominate Paraguay
United States Women's National Team legend Carli Lloyd, who scored five times in a 9-0 win over Paraguay, will play three more games before she retires from soccer. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Carli Lloyd scored five goals, with four in the first half, to lead the United States Women's National Team to a dominant 9-0 shutout of Paraguay in an international soccer friendly in Cleveland.

Lloyd scored in the third, sixth, 34th, 48th and 61st minutes of the lopsided win Thursday at FirstEnergy Stadium. The veteran striker, who announced her retirement in August, will play in three more friendly matches with the U.S.

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"I've just tried to play every single game as if it's my last game, every time I've stepped out on the field," Lloyd told reporters. "I've gone about it my way."

Lloyd's five goals tied Alex Morgan's record for the most scored in a game by a U.S. women's player. Morgan scored five times in a win over Thailand at the 2019 World Cup.

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Center midfielder Andi Sullivan totaled two goals and an assist for the Americans on Thursday in Cleveland. Forwards Lynn Williams and Tobin Heath also scored. Forward Mallory Pugh logged three assists.

Lloyd found the net less than three minutes into the game. Pugh fired a corner kick from the left flag to spark that score. The cross curled toward the net. Lloyd met the ball with a header, sending a shot into the right side of the goal.

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She scored for a second time about two minutes later.

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Left back Crystal Dunn sent in a cross from the left side on a breakaway during that sequence. Right wing Rose Lavelle ran over the feed, which went through to Lloyd in the middle of the box. She used her first touch to send a left-footed strike past Paraguay goalie Cristina Recalde.

Sullivan found the net for her first score in the 25th minute. Williams headed a corner to the far post on that play. Sullivan tapped in the pass from point-blank range for a 3-0 lead.

Williams scored her goal in the 30th minute. Pugh sent a cross-field pass to the forward to set up that score. Williams tapped the ball forward and ripped a shot from outside the box. The attempt deflected off a defender and went into the net.

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Lloyd completed her hat trick in the 34th minute. Sullivan chipped a cross toward the far post. Lloyd wrapper her leg around a defender in the box and got just enough of the ball to send a slow shot past Recalde for a 5-0 lead.

She added her fourth score about three minutes later when she tapped in another shot from close range off a feed from Williams. The Americans led 6-0 at halftime.

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Sullivan scored the seventh goal off a header from a Pugh assist in the 49th minute. Lloyd scored her final goal about 10 minutes later.

Macario sent an outswinging corner kick from the right side to set up that score. Lloyd out-jumped two defenders and headed a shot into the Paraguay net.

Heath scored the final goal of the night in the 86th minute. Defender Tierna Davidson sent a long pass from the left to the right flank to find the forward alone at the top of the box. Heath tapped the ball down with her right foot and slid a shot just inside the right post to beat Recalde.

"I have nothing left to prove," Lloyd said. "It's a good feeling to know I can wrap things up my way and just savor these last few games with the national team and just really enjoy every moment of it."

The Americans battle Paraguay in another friendly at 7:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati.

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