LONDON – Put an Olympic gold medal on the table and watch Carli Lloyd go.
Four years after scoring the gold-winning goal in Beijing, Lloyd of London outdid herself. The Delran native scored both U.S. goals in a thrilling 2-1 victory over Japan. The win earned the U.S. women a gold medal and payback for Japan’s victory over them in last year’s World Cup final.
On Wednesday, Lloyd was asked about teammate Abby Wambach’s prediction that somebody “will become a legend” with a big goal in the final.
“I know I would be thrilled if I got one in the back of the net,” Lloyd said.
It took her only eight minutes to do it. Alex Morgan, who scored the game-winner in overtime in the semifinal against Canada, found herself pinned along the endline. She flipped the ball across the goal mouth, apparently looking for Wambach on the far side. Wambach raised her foot.
But Lloyd slid in front of her, heading the ball in the back of the net for a 1-0 lead. The U.S. held on to that lead through the first half. In the second, Lloyd made it 2-0. This time, she ran free through the middle of the field and fired a perfect shot that slipped just inside the left post.
The U.S. needed both goals. Japan put intense pressure on the U.S. defense. Hope Solo made several fantastic saves. Team captain Christie Rampone, of Point Pleasant, saved one shot. Amy LePeilbet blocked another.
Yuki Ogimi, robbed several times by Solo, finally scored late in the half. Japan atayed on the attack, but the Americans survived.