VANCOUVER, British Columbia (CBSNewYork/AP) — Carli Lloyd came up big again. Three times.
And with it came the Americans’ elusive third Women’s World Cup title.
Lloyd scored three times as the U.S. burst to a four-goal lead in the first 16 minutes, and the Americans overwhelmed defending champion Japan 5-2 Sunday for their record third championship and first since 1999.
A sellout crowd of 53,341 that included U.S. Vice President Joe Biden roared in approval for Lloyd’s hat trick, the first ever in a Women’s World Cup final.
“I was just on a mission,” Lloyd said. “I was on a mission to help my team win this game.”
When it was over, Lloyd collapsed to her knees and pumped her fists. Forward Abby Wambach bear-hugged teary eyed coach Jill Ellis, lifting her off the ground.
Lloyd, voted the Golden Ball as player of the tournament, scored twice in a span of about 135 seconds as the U.S. led 2-0 by the fifth minute.
Lauren Holiday boosted the lead in the 14th and two minutes later Lloyd made it 4-0 with an audacious 54-yard, right-footed shot from midfield that sailed over goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori.
Japan closed on Yuki Ogimi’s goal in the 27th and an own goal by Julie Johnston on an errant header in the 52nd. Tobin Heath scored two minutes later, the third goal off a restart for the Americans.
Back in New York, CBS2’s Matt Kozar was at soccer bar Nevada Smith when fans erupted in cheers as New Jersey native and Rutgers alum Lloyd brought the team to victory.
“All the little girls that are watching this match. They’re going to grow up. They want to keep playing,” said fan and soccer player Ashley Kick. “They want to be Solo .. they want to be Carli Lloyd.”
Owner of legendary soccer hangout Nevada Smith, Paddy McCarthy, says the success if the women’s team win is drawing more to the sport.
“We’re growing,” McCarthy said. “The game is growing and people are getting into it.”