Carli Lloyd (right) struck for two goals in the USA's 3-0 win over visiting China in an international friendly on April 10, 2014, in San Diego, California. (Photo: John Todd/isiphotos.com)
SAN DIEGO, California – Jill Ellis got her second spell as interim head coach of the United States women’s national team off to a winning start on Thursday as the Americans defeated China, 3-0, before a crowd of 12,857 at Qualcomm Stadium.
The game, which was played four days after previous manager Tom Sermanni was relieved of his duties, extended the USA’s unbeaten streak at home to 82.
Carli Lloyd became the ninth U.S. player to reach the 50-goal milestone, scoring twice within the opening 23 minutes, while Sydney Leroux added another just 13 seconds into the second half.
After some initial good play by the Chinese, Lloyd struck for the game’s first goal in the 20th minute.
Megan Rapinoe started the sequence with a pass to Leroux down the left sideline. The forward dribbled past her defender to the goal line and crossed to Lauren Holiday at the far post. Holiday redirected the ball back to Lloyd, who finished from 12 yards out with a left-footed shot.
Three minutes later, Lloyd made it 2-0 and it was Rapinoe again who got things going with a shot from the right side that was deflected by Zeng Ying. Wang Shanshan subsequent clearance attempt went to Lloyd. From 24-yards out, the 31-year-ol fired off another left-footer that flew just inside the left post.
The U.S. put the game out of reach seconds after the break. Off the kickoff, a long ball sent into the penalty area was mishandled by China’s defense. Rapinoe reacted quickly and made a short pass that Leroux was able to slide underneath goalkeeper Zhang Yue from just outside the left corner of the six-yard box. Leroux has a team-high five goals this year.
With the National Women’s Soccer League season starting this weekend, the U.S. won’t play again until it visits Canada on May 8, at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg.
NOTES: The USA improved its record in 2014 to 6 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses and is now 32-12-8 all-time against China … Ellis is undefeated as U.S. interim head coach (6-2-0).