Carli Lloyd repeated her exploits of five years ago after scoring at Wembley in the Women’s FA Cup Final as she helped her side to a 4-1 win. The U.S national team captain, who memorably scored twice in the Gold Medal Match at the London 2012 Olympics in a 2-1 win over Japan, scored from a header as her side claimed their first Women’s FA Cup.
Manchester City were always in control and were 3-0 up inside 32 minutes, with former Florida State defender Megan Campbell grabbing two assists, the first from a set-piece that found the head of Lucy Bronze, and the second a cross from the left that found the head of Lloyd.
City’s dominant opening half an hour, did not come as a surprise to the 34-year-old American.
“We were really motivated,” she said. “We played Birmingham recently and we didn’t play that great. I think we knew this was a final and we had to come out and get an early lead. It was a great start.”
Izzy Christiansen slammed home an effort in between the two headers from Bronze and Lloyd, before Birmingham pulled one back in the second half with a heavily deflected effort from sub Charlie Wellings, with just over 15 minutes remaining. But any hope of a miraculous comeback were killed off when City broke up field with ten minutes left on the clock, which resulted in Jill Scott riffling home a fourth to finish the tie and add a third domestic trophy to City’s cabinet in less than 12 months.
Lloyd was played as a number nine in the game, leading the line and playing further forward than her last appearance at the home of English football five years ago. Her goal, and the aftermath, was almost a replica of the first that she scored against Japan at the Olympics – same end, with a header, and the knee slide celebration to follow.
So how much had London 2012 played on her mind coming into this game?
“I’ve thought about it and how far I’ve come since 2012,” she said. “I think 2012 was definitely a moment in my career and my life when I started to believe I could become one of the best players in the world, and now here I am five years later playing back at Wembley.
“My knee slide was probably one of my favorite goal celebrations, obviously I couldn’t do that in 2015 as sliding on turf wouldn’t have been too pleasant. The knee slide was on the opposite side (to 2012), so I thought it was fitting to run and do another sliding celebration.”
The win means City now hold all three domestic trophies in England, with the FA Cup victory coming off the back off an FA Women’s Super League title win and Continental League Cup triumph at the back end of 2016. With an appearance in the semi-finals of the UEFA Women’s Champions league in their debut season this year as well, City are clearly leading the charge in English football.
As for Lloyd, winning is very much winning, however it comes and whatever stage it is on. Its impossible to compare Olympic Gold and World Cup triumph to a domestic victory, but for the soon-to-be-again Houston Dash midfielder, the victory was another tick in the box.
“It’s a final and I knew making the decision coming here I could be part of an FA Cup Final and potentially win, and for me its what I’m all about. I want to win as many things as I can, so to be a small part of that victory is pretty good.
“To score here and to be back here, I’m two-for-two, and I don’t know when I will be back. It’s a great stadium and one of my most favorite stadiums to play in. it was pretty special.”