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Carli Lloyd Honored as She Plays Last USWNT Match

On Tuesday night in Minnesota, Carli Lloyd called it a career.

The U.S. women's national team star suited up for the final time on the international stage as the U.S. beat South Korea 6–0 at Minnesota United's Allianz Field for the second of two friendlies between the sides. They played to a 0-0 draw on Oct. 21, and Lloyd exited Tuesday's match in the 65th minute with the U.S. leading 2–0. Her replacement, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle and Lynn Williams tacked on the late goals to complete the rout.

For the 39-year-old Lloyd, Tuesday's appearance marked her 316th cap, which is good for second-most in international soccer history, trailing only another U.S. great, Kristine Lilly (354). She entered—and ends—with 134 career goals, which is third-most in U.S. history (behind Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm) and fourth-most all-time (Canada's Christine Sinclair is the record-holder with 188), and she also entered as the team's leading scorer (11) and assister (six) this year. True to her brand, she's the only U.S. player to feature in every one of the 22 games so far this year.

Lloyd, typically locked in with laser focus on the task at hand, said on Monday that she is bracing for an emotional occasion, one which she said would be attended by more than 20 friends and family members. 

"I think emotions are going to flow, obviously," she said. "I've sort of been this player where I haven't let my mind go to feeling tired or feeling burned out or wanting to hang up my boots. And I'm at this stage, I'm at this point in my career. And I don't think any athlete ever thinks of the 'retirement' word until it's actually near. ... I've been 'Iced-out Carli' for so long. People have always seen that. People haven't always seen the different side of me. I'm going to savor it, savor every moment. I think it's going to be truly special.

"I'm going to soak it all in, that's for sure. No tunnel vision tomorrow night."

The tributes poured in from around the soccer universe, notably from U.S. greats like Hamm, Lilly and Wambach.

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U.S. Soccer spent the day sharing tribute videos as well, from everyone from teammates to family to the likes of Clint Dempsey and Tom Brady. Lloyd will continue to be honored prior to and after the match, after which the U.S. will officially turn the page. 

The commemoration began after the teams walked out of the tunnel, as she was presented with a special framed jersey by U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone and USWNT general manager Kate Markgraf.

Lloyd nearly scored in the 27th minute, curling a left-footed, 20-yard shot that was earmarked to tuck inside the left post, only for a diving save to push it off frame.

The match paused as she came off midway through the second half, with Lloyd removing her cleats, hugging her teammates and then taking off her jersey to reveal another one underneath that read "Hollins"—a nod to her husband, Brian. She has talked about starting a family in her post-playing days, and perhaps that is what comes in her next chapter.

After the match, Lloyd watched a tribute video being played on the videoboard at Allianz Field before addressing the crowd, thanking fans, teammates, U.S. Soccer, the USWNT support staff and family one last time.

Lloyd has already said that she'll be passing on her No. 10 shirt to Lindsey Horan (who scored the opening goal Tuesday night, with the help of a deflection), though she isn't done playing just yet. She still has a club title to chase with NJ/NY Gotham FC. The team is in the NWSL playoff hunt and will clinch a berth with a win in either of its final two games, both of which are against Racing Louisville FC.

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