USWNT beats China in first game since Tom Sermanni was fired
SAN DIEGO (AP) Carli Lloyd scored two goals less than three minutes apart in the first half as the United States defeated China 3-0 Thursday night in a women's soccer friendly in the first game since Tom Sermanni was fired as coach of the Americans.
The victory extended the United States' unbeaten streak on home turf to 82 games (72-0-10) as Jill Ellis marked the start of her second stint as interim coach. Sermanni was fired Sunday.
"I thought there were some really good moments tonight," said Ellis, a Scotland native who previously served as interim coach in October 2012 before Sermanni took over. "They've been through a lot this week. They've got great resilience and professionalism that was on display tonight.
"I know these guys I know my role and come in here and galvanize then a little bit. But they're so professional it's not a challenge to bring this group to be focused on the field."
Lloyd took a pass from forward Lauren Holiday and beat China goalie Zhang Yue with a left foot drive just inside the right goal post in the 20th minute. In the 23rd minute Lloyd intercepted a pass and drilled a shot from 25 yards out that caught the inside of the left goalpost past Yue.
Lloyd has 50 goals in international play.
Prior to those two scores, U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo had made a terrific hand save on a shot by Zhang Rui in the 11th minute of play.
Asked about being in mix for the permanent head coaching job, Ellis said: "I's been a crazy week and I haven't had a chance to reflect on a few things. Just for me I need some time to go home and things over before I talk with those making the decision."
Some of the players, however, were ready to endorse her.
"We are comfortable with Jill and we love Jill and have a lot of respect for her," Solo said. "She didn't miss a beat. She came in she put the pen on the board and started coaching.
"I am always honored to be coached by Jill. Everyone she had something to say, I think people perk up and listen. And yes I'd love to see her on board."
Lloyd suffered a bloody nose in a collision late in the first half but did return to play. American defenseman Rachel Van Hollebeke suffered a twisted left ankle in the first half and did not return.
All-time leading scorer Abby Wambach made her first appearance at the start of the second half.
Forward Sydney Leroux scored the third goal of the game with an assist from Megan Rapinoe in the 46th minute