Upon her return to New Jersey on Sunday, Carli Lloyd was greeted with a royal reception, and a ceremony that honored her many past achievements (most specifically, her 100 goal mark with the USWNT). But, like Lloyd herself, Sky Blue FC is looking forward, and is still figuring out how to work the USWNT co-captain into the fold as a playmaker, and perhaps even more importantly as an on-field key to unlock the slew of young talent Sky Blue accumulated in the months before the 2018 season.
I do understand it’s too much to ask one player to completely control the run of play for an entire squad every week, but that’s not the whole story with this Sky Blue team. They’ve got a competitive starting XI, with young national (and international) talent like Savannah McCaskill, Kailen Sheridan, Janine Beckie and Raquel Rodriguez, and a solid core of league standouts like Shea Groom, Christina Gibbons, and Sarah Killion. It’s a promising, if relatively inexperienced, group, and Lloyd is the obvious intended piece to propel them to success sooner rather than later.
That expectation is also warranted when one looks at the impact Lloyd had on the Houston Dash in her tenure there. While the argument could definitely be made that Lloyd didn’t suit up for as many games as she could have in Houston
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