This was a mismatch. The U.S. women’s national team walloped No. 50-ranked Paraguay 9-0 in Cleveland with USWNT legend Carli Lloyd scoring five of the American tallies, tying the single-game record by a U.S. player.
The five goals scored by the 39-year-old Lloyd were a personal best and took her career total to 133 career international goals, good for fourth all-time in the history of the women’s game. The match was the first of her final four contests after the USWNT forward announced that she would be retiring at the end of the team’s four-match post-Olympic tour.
“It was fun. I’m just trying to savor it. I want time to go slower. One game is down and I have three left,” Lloyd told ESPN after the match. “I was feeling a little uncomfortable that I had all the goals on the team. I said someone else needs to score.
“One of the coaches did mention it as we went back on after halftime,” Lloyd said when asked if she was aware of the single-game record for a U.S. player. “I was just halving fun out there and I didn’t want to lose the ball.”
Lloyd, who played the full 90, scored her first two goals inside the opening six minutes on a corner kick header and an easy finish alone in front of goal. Then Andi Sullivan, who played in the deep central midfield position, scored her first of two on the night, both off set pieces. Lynn Williams and her substitute, Tobin Heath, rounded out the scoring with blasts that overpowered the Paraguay ‘keeper.
Outside of Lloyd’s standout performance, winger Mallory Pugh, Sullivan and Williams were particularly bright for the USWNT as players aim to impress with an eye toward the 2023 World Cup. Regional qualifying for that tournament takes place in July 2022 for the USA.
Next up on the calendar is a rematch against Paraguay on Sept. 21 in Cincinnati and what is likely to be another lopsided result.
USWNT vs. Paraguay final score
USA – Carli Lloyd (Mallory Pugh) – 3rd min.
USA – Carli Lloyd (Crystal Dunn) – 6th min.
USA – Andi Sullivan (L. Williams, K. Mewis) – 25th min.
USA – Lynn Williams – 30th min.
USA – Carli Lloyd (Andi Sullivan) – 33rd min.
USA – Carli Lloyd (Lynn Williams) – 38th min.
USA – Andi Sullivan (Mallory Pugh) – 49th min.
USA – Carli Lloyd (Catarina Macario) – 61st min.
USA – Tobin Heath (Tierna Davidson) – 86th min.
(All times Eastern)
Final: USWNT 9, Paraguay 0
86th min.: It’s a ninth. Tobin Heath gets in on the action. She takes a long ball from Davidson and blasts it home.
79th min.: Big stop by the Paraguay ‘keeper on another Lloyd corner kick header. And Alex Morgan is stuffed on the rebound. Lloyd nearly had her record sixth.
73rd min.: SUB – Tobin Heath comes on for Lynn Williams at right wing.
72nd min.: SUB – Abby Dahlkemper in for Becky Sauerbrunn. Carli Lloyd takes the captain’s armband.
70th min.: Paraguay’s ‘keeper comes up with a big stop on an Alex Morgan shot, and she stops her seconds later. Meanwhile, Ramona Martinez on for Paraguay’s Maria Martinez.
67th min.: Stat nugget from the broadcast: No USWNT player has ever scored six goals. Nine players (now including Lloyd) have hit for five goals.
65th min.: U.S. chance! Sophie Smith rips a shot and it goes off the goalkeeper and off the post for a corner.
63rd min.: SUBS – Emily Sonnett comes on for Crystal Dunn at left back. Paraguay also brings in Monserrath Ayala off the bench.
61st min.: Lloyd has a fifth goal! She does not get subbed out and heads home a Catarina Macario corner kick.
60th min.: Rare Paraguay attacking set piece. And the delivery goes right into the hands of the USWNT goalkeeper Franch.
59th min.: SUBS – Alex Morgan, Catarina Macario and Sophie Smith are on for Mal Pugh, Kristie Mewis and Rose Lavelle.
49th min.: Touchdown USA! Another set piece goal: Pugh’s ball into the box finds Sullivan who applies the glancing header for her second goal of the game. 7-0 for the USWNT.
48th min.: As if it weren’t bad enough for them, the Paraguayans started the half with 10 players after Lorena Alonso needed new bandaging on her head. She was involved in a head-to-head collision with Lynn Williams in the first half.
46th min.: Second half underway in Cleveland. No subs.
Halftime: USWNT 6, Paraguay 0
Halftime: Not much to say about this one. It’s a mismatch (15-0 on shots and 79%-21% possession percentage). It’s a good practice match for the USA and a chance to turn the page after the Olympics. Mal Pugh, Lynn Williams and Andi Sullivan shined in that first half alongside four-goal scorer Lloyd. Sullivan’s play is setting the tone for the USA in central midfield, and Pugh and Williams have been relentless down the flanks.
45th min.: Andi Sullivan strikes the crossbar from distance! The USA is hitting Paraguay from every angle. Lynn Williams was there for the rebound, but she was in an offside position when Sullivan’s shot was hit.
41st min.: It’s nearly a seventh goal on a Pugh corner kick that finds Kristie Mewis at the far post. Mewis is all alone, but can’t hit the target.
38th min.: It’s too easy for Lloyd, who gets her fourth goal! Lynn Williams just lofts the ball into the middle of the box and Lloyd simply side-foots it home. That’s four goals on 12 total touches. It’s the first time in her career she’s had four goals in a match.
33rd min.: Hat trick Lloyd! She beats a defender to a one-time cross in the box and stabs it home. She can’t be contained. Now she has the all-time record for hat tricks by a USWNT player.
30th min.: It’s a fourth! Lynn Williams just winds up and lets fly from distance and the ball takes a deflection into the back of the net. No mercy from the USWNT.
25th min.: Another USWNT goal! This one off another corner. Lynn Williams heads it down toward goal and Andi Sullivan knocks it home on the goal line. That’s her first USWNT goal.
23rd min.: Pugh has been outstanding in this first half. Now she’s on the right and a long ball from the back finds her making a run in behind. She wins a corner.
14th min.: After starting on fire, the USWNT has eased the pressure a bit and the initial flurry of action has died down. Paraguay settling in a bit more.
#USWNT has had to line up a lot of bad teams in the last year, but Paraguay is the worst. Has never played in WWC. Only game it has played in last 18 months was a 7-0 loss to Japan in April.
— Paul Kennedy (@pkedit) September 16, 2021
10th min.: Lloyd puts the ball in the back of the net again, but she’s offside on the cross by Lynn Williams from the right.
6th min.: Lloyd again! And again from the left: Pugh serves Crystal Dunn down the left flank and her cross reaches Lloyd, who’s wide open in front of the goal. Now up to 130 goals, tied for third all-time with Kristine Lilly.
3rd min.: Goal Carli Lloyd! She heads home the corner kick and it’s her 129th career international goal, good for 4th all-time in the world.
3rd min.: Crystal Dunn is pushing high and gets the shot off, which is saved for a corner.
1st min.: We’re underway in Cleveland.
7:17 p.m.: Mal Pugh getting comfortable with that left wing ahead of the match:
7:13 p.m.: Out for warmups:
6:57 p.m.: Get pumped for the game:
6:06 p.m.: The USWNT is in the house:
5:24 p.m.: A view of FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland:
USWNT vs. Paraguay: Starting lineups
Head coach Vlatko Andonovski has called up a new-look roster that features three NWSL players who were not part of the Olympic team: Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns) and Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars).
USWNT star Christen Press opted out to focus on mental health . Out due to injury are goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher , midfielders Julie Ertz , Samantha Mewis and Lindsey Horan , and forward Megan Rapinoe . Naeher, Mewis and Horan are with the team for evaluation and rehabilitation.
USWNT starting lineup (4-3-3, left to right): 18-Adrianna French-GK — 19-Crystal Dunn, 12-Tierna Davidson, 4-Becky Sauerbunn, 5-Kelley O’Hara — 22-Kristie Mewis, 25-Andi Sullivan, 16-Rose Lavelle — 11-Mallory Pugh, 10-Carli Lloyd, 6-Lynn Williams
USWNT subs (8): 21-Jane Campbell-GK, 2-Abby Dahlkemper, 20-Casey Krueger, 14-Emily Sonnett, 17-Catarina Macario, 13-Alex Morgan, 7-Tobin Heath, 27-Sophia Smith
Paraguay coach Epifania Benitez called up 18 players for the matches against the United States (players who feature for clubs outside Paraguay are noted). The team has played one match in 2021, a 7-0 loss to Japan. Paraguay’s top scorer is Fabiola Sandoval (25 goals in 43 appearances):
Paraguay starting lineup (5-4-1, right to left): 1-Cristina Recalde-GK — 2-María Martinez, 3-Limpia Fretes, 5-Tania Riso, 4-Daysy Bareiro, 8-Lorena Alonso — 6-Fany Gauto, 10-Fanny Godoy, 14-Deisy Ojeda, 11-Mirta Pico — 7-Fabiola Sandoval
Paraguay subs (7): 12-Alicia Bobadilla-GK, 15-Sofía Almiron, 13-Fiorela Martínez, 7-Yanina Servín, 16-Monserrath Ayala, 18-Ramona Martínez 9-Natalia Pena
How to watch USWNT vs. Paraguay
- Date: Thursday, Sept. 16
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- TV channel: ESPN2
- Live stream: fuboTV , ESPN app
The match will be broadcast on ESPN2, which can be streamed on fuboTV (free 7-day trial) .