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Aug. 9, 2008
Lloyd makes the most out of 2nd chance

By Michael Lewis Editor

Carli Lloyd was the hero of the American's 1-0 win over Japan Saturday.
Carli Lloyd was the hero of the American's 1-0 win over Japan Saturday.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Quinhaungdao, China -- It's not very often you get a second chance in life in the same country where you crashed and burned in a major soccer tournament less than a year earlier.

But Carli Lloyd had the opportunity handed to her on a silver platter Saturday night.

Entering last year's Women's World Cup, Lloyd had been one of the emerging players on the U.S. team. But after three disappointing games, Lloyd turned the invisible woman as she was benched.

It looked like this year would be an instant replay of 2007. Again another promising year with some impressive numbers and again Lloyd played below her potential in the opening 2-0 loss to Norway Wednesday.

Lloyd, a Delran, N.J. native, credited coach Pia Sundhage for building up her confidence.

"She has just given me the confidence to take risks in the final third and be my creative self that I like to be," she said after scoring the winning goal in the 1-0 victory over Japan.

Lloyd said that included "making sure I get the ball, settle it down, keeping that rhythm. I wouldn't be playing this way if it wasn't for her. She's just been unbelievable, letting me grow and having the confidence to let me do my thing on the field."

Asked exactly what her role with the team was, the 26-year-old Lloyd replied, "It would be nice if I can score some goals. But I'm just trying to be a two-way player and help this team any way I can -- defend, attack, make runs in the box, whatever. My role is to be strong in the midfield with Boxxie (Shannon Boxx). Like Pia [Sundhage, the coach] said, we're in pairs. Boxxie and I complement each really well."

For the first time publicly, the team spoke about the Norway loss.

"It was pretty upsetting," she said. "It was one of those days. It was one of those days. There were a lot of things that were just off. Two goals being scored on in the first [four] minutes of the game. Our starting defender out. There were just a lot of factors. It was our first game playing without Abby [Wambach]. I think the more minutes we get and the more we play together, we're really going to do some good things."
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