March 4, 2015
Lloyd scored the goals, but Solo saved the day
VILA REAL DE SAN ANTONIO, Portugal -- Midfielder Carli Lloyd scored two goals within a five-minute span in the second half and goalkeeper Hope Solo, in her first game of 2015, made a spectacular save as the United States rallied past Norway 2-1 in the Algarve Cup opener for both teams Wednesday.
|Carli Lloyd scored both goals as the US Women opened the Algarve Cup with a 2-1 win over Norway.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Both of Lloyd's goals came in the second half after Norway led 1-0 after 45 minutes in the Group B match at Municipal Stadium. The Norwegians could have gone up 2-0 nine minutes into the second half, but Solo, who looked shaky at times in the first half, made a diving save on a close-in shot by Norway's Sulveig Gulbrandsen.
The Group B match was the first of four for the U.S. in the annual international tournament in Portugal, with most of the major World Cup contenders, excluding host Canada, in the 12-team field.
Solo, who had not played since Dec. 21, was coming off a 30-day U.S. Soccer Federation-mandated suspension. She wasted no time getting into action four minutes into the game.
She rushed off her line to play a long Norwegian pass, but was hit by a teammate as she reached high for the ball. She lost control as she hit the ground, and the ball bounced freely in the area where a Norwegian player was able to get off a shot that Ali Krieger and out of bounds.
Most of the rest of the opening half was played in Norway's end with Lloyd and Christen Press having the best opportunities.
At nine minutes, a Lloyd shot from 15 yards was kicked away by Norwegian keeper Silje Nesterbekkmo, and Press slammed a shot off the bottom of the right post from 25 yards.
Norway was content with defending and then countering with long passes. That finally payid off in the 43rd minute, when a break down the right side led to a perfect cross from Gulbrandsen into the center of the box where an unmarked Ada Hegerberg out-leaped everyone and headed a high shot just under the crossbar and above the outstretched arm of Solo.
In the 54th minute, Norway had control of the ball in the box off a corner, Gulbrandsen turned with the ball from three yards in front of the goal. Her quick shot was knocked away by Solo, whose dive seemed to the hit ball with her right knee and hand.
Solo's saves led to Lloyd's heroics. The Delran, N.J. native scored the equalizer in the 57th minute. She took a pass with her back to the goal, spun and nailed a left-footed shot into the lower right corner of the net from 18 yards.
Lloyd's second goal came in the 62nd minute when a Norway defender put out an arm to knock away a shot by Press. Lloyd stepped to the spot and calmly lifted a shot into the roof of the net for a 2-1 advantage.
The U.S. has its next Group B game with Switzerland, in the same venue Friday. The Swiss were 2-0 winners over Iceland in another Wednesday game.