Carli Lloyd has made it very clear that she does not like being a substitute.
Lloyd, a two-time world player of the year, has been forced to accept a bench role with the U.S. women’s national team as her career reaches its twilight phase.
Many players in Lloyd’s position would spout platitudes about being happy to do whatever is best for the team, but that is not who Lloyd is.
“If I was satisfied with that, I really shouldn’t be here,” Lloyd said on Friday. “There’s honestly nothing there that’s holding me back except for the coach’s decision.”
Starting as part of a heavily rotated squad in the USWNT’s second World Cup game, Lloyd came out with a fierce determination to score against Chile, and it did not take her long to do so, as she netted the first goal of the game with a fantastic half-volley from the top of the box.
Lloyd was not done though, as later in the first half she got on the end of Tierna Davidson’s driven corner kick to head home her second of the night and her team’s third after Julie Ertz had made it 2-0.
In the second half, Lloyd showed her versatility by moving from forward back to midfield, where she played for most of her career. She nearly sealed a perfect performance with a hat-trick, but blazed a penalty wide in the game's latter stages.
The U.S. still booked a spot in the round of 16 with a comfortable 3-0 win that would have been a much higher margin of victory were it not for the heroics of Christiane Endler in the Chilean goal.
Lloyd would still be starting for most teams at the World Cup, but she has been the victim of an excessively talented U.S. roster, especially in attack.
But as she approaches her 37th birthday, Lloyd produced a record-setting performance on Sunday to once again show that she has got more than a little left in the tank.
Lloyd’s goals meant she set a record by becoming the first player to score in her sixth consecutive World Cup match, while she also became the oldest player in World Cup history to score two goals in a game.
With 10 goals, Lloyd now only trails Michelle Akers (12) and Abby Wambach (14) for most career World Cup goals for the USWNT.
Lloyd, who scored a hat trick in the 2015 World Cup final, stepped her game up as the World Cup approached, scoring five goals in her team’s final five games leading up to the tournament in France.
The veteran attacker then scored the 13th and final goal her side’s demolition of Thailand to open the World Cup, leading to her starting opportunity against Chile.
As she has done so many times in her career, Lloyd took her chance. She may be destined to spend a significant portion of this World Cup on the bench, but she has made it clear that she is not going to go quietly.