Led by veterans Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe, USWNT rally wins Olympic bronze

KASHIMA, JAPAN – AUG 5: Carli Lloyd, No.10 of the United States, celebrates his goal with teammates during a game between Australia and USWNT at Kashima Soccer Stadium on August 5, 2021 in Kashima, Japan . (Photo by Brad Smith / ISI Photos / Getty Images)

After a unusually weak tournament, the United States Women’s National Football Team (USWNT) came back with a vengeance in their final game of the Tokyo Olympics, exchanging shots with their Australian opponents throughout the 90 minutes, and ultimately outscoring them 4-3 to secure the bronze medal. It is the first Olympic bronze in the history of the team and their sixth overall medal.

The United States came on early with forward Megan Rapinoe landing a rare corner kick into the goal in the eighth minute. Several minutes later, Australia’s Sam Kerr scored the equalizer – but Rapinoe reacted quickly, floating a side volley just below the crossbar to put her team in the lead.

At the end of the first half, veteran Carli Lloyd also found the goal, passing the ball straight into the corner with an assist from midfielder Lindsey Horan. It was his ninth career Olympic goal, tying the all-time US record set by Abby Wambach in 2012. Lloyd would break that record in the 51st minute, putting the ball between the legs of goalkeeper Teagan Micah to give the USWNT a three-point lead.

Australian Caitlin Foord hit back moments later, heading goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, who secured her first Olympic start with this game after Alyssa Naeher was injured in the semi-final. Foord’s teammate Emily Gielnik scored Australia’s third goal in the 90th minute, but as the extra time added by officials rolled out, the USWNT’s lead proved insurmountable.

The bronze medal comes as the quadruple World Cup champions continue their fight for equal pay. In the USWNT quarterfinal match, players from the US men’s team – which did not compete in the Olympic tournament – submitted an amicus brief claiming that American women deserve equal, if not better, pay than men. “A woman’s rate of pay is not equal to that of a man if the woman has to consistently perform better just to get to the same place,” the brief said.

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