Former Pine-Richland star Meghan Klingenberg and her teammates on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team brought home the FIFA Women’s World Cup Sunday by defeating defending champion Japan 5-2. The victorious American crew captured their record third championship, winning it before in 1991 and 1999.
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The dream of the 23 members of the U.S. team became a reality when Carli Lloyd set a record with the fastest hat trick in the history of the Women’s World Cup. Coach Jen Ellis’ squad forged a four-goal advantage in the opening 16 minutes of the match. The Delran, New Jersey native’s first goal on the right side of the net in the third minute was the quickest score in a Women’s World Cup final. The 5-foot-8 midfielder, who will turn 33 on July 16, made it on to the score sheet twice in approximately 135 seconds as the U.S. crew commanded a 2-0 edge by the fifth minute of action.
Lauren Holiday, 27, added to the lead in the 14th minute with her first goal of the tournament. The ball came to the Indianapolis, Indiana native when a clearing attempt failed, and the 5-foot-8 midfielder struck the ball off the volley to drive it past goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori. Just two minutes later, Lloyd made it 4-0 with a 54-yard shot launched from midfield that came down and hit off the left post and in for the score.
It was 27-year-old midfielder Tobin Heath, who delivered the final goal of the contest and her first of the tournament in the 54th minute for the U.S. A low pass into the center of the box from Morgan Brian found the Basking Ridge, New Jersey native who fired the ball straight to the back of the net.
In the end, it was Lloyd, who was named the Golden Ball winner as the most valuable player of the tournament, and teammate Hope Solo, who collected the Golden Glove as the tournament’s best goalkeeper.
Rubbing the Rock
Japan ended the USA’s record-tying shutout streak at 540 minutes in the 27th when 27-year-old forward Yuki Ogimi scored from the center box. A second-half goal by Julie Johnston in the 52nd minute gave the Asian nation a glimmer of hope. The Japanese had won their first title on penalty kicks four years ago in Germany over the U.S. team.
The Women’s World Cup final was held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. There was an announced crowd of 53,341 at BC Place Stadium. The sport continues to grow as the 2015 Women’s World Cup tournament had 24 teams, up from the previous level of 16.
You will be able to see Klingenberg and the Red, White, and Blue in action when Team USA plays a friendly match against Costa Rica on Sunday, Aug. 16 at Heinz Field. It will get underway at 1:30 p.m.
Klingenberg, who was born in Gibsonia, Penna., played her college soccer for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels. The 5-foot-2 defender currently plays with Lloyd and Brian for the Houston Dash in the National Women’s Soccer League. The 26-year-old joined Lloyd, Solo, Johnston, and defender Becky Sauerbrunn in playing all 630 minutes of the tournament.
From The Clipboard: When the Pittsburgh Riverhounds return Saturday, July 18 to face Louisville City FC at Highmark Stadium, Klingenberg will be the team’s special guest. The contest is set for 7 p.m. on the South Side.
She will be conducting a youth girl soccer camp the weekend of July 17-19 at the Dick’s Sportplex at Graham Park in Cranberry Township, PA. For more information, please visit MK Socccer Camp 2015. She talks about the upcoming camp and more here…