By JULIE JAG
LONDON — Cal’s Alex Morgan put the ball at Carli Lloyd’s feet and put the USA up early, Hope Solo put a force field around the goal and then Lloyd also put on the exclamation point. The USA women’s soccer team got its sweet revenge — and the gold — with a 2-1 win in the Olympic championship match Thursday night at Wembley Stadium.
Lloyd scored her first goal in the seventh minute on Morgan’s near-goal cross in traffic and she put the USA up 2-0 with her insurance shot in the 54th. Hope Solo seemed seven times wider than her svelte frame would suggest as everything the Japanese sent her way was tipped out. Shinobu Ohno, determined all match to find a way to score, finally uncovered a hole in the 62nd. She cut in for a wide open shot on the right side. Solo stopped that one, but the ball dribbled behind her slightly and was cleared by another USA player … right back to Ohno. She then crossed it over to teammate Yuki Ogimi for the goal.
That would be it for the Japanese, though. They attacked viciously in the first part of the second half, but the USA defense controlled the tempo and the ball most of the way until the end.
Canada, whom the USA defeated 4-3 on a Morgan goal in overage time in the semifinal, took bronze.