The U.S. women's national team began its quest for a fifth Olympic gold medal with a victory in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, with Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan scoring in a comfortable 2-0 win over New Zealand Wednesday night.
The USA has won gold in four of the five women's Olympic tournaments, starting with the first one on home soil in 1996. With veterans such as Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Hope Solo and Becky Sauerbrunn and impact newcomers like Crystal Dunn and Mallory Pugh, the Americans are favored to win gold again.
Lloyd wasted little time in confirming that favorite status and picking up where she left off at last summer's World Cup, where she won the Golden Ball and rose to super-stardom with a hat trick in the final. She looped home a header after Tobin Heath's cross nine minutes in to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead:
Morgan made it 2-0 not even a minute into the second half. After being found by Morgan Brian, Morgan was left unmarked in the area, and she beat New Zealand goalkeeper Erin Nayler at her near post to double the advantage:
Here was the USA's starting lineup for Wednesday night's match:
The U.S. will play France and Colombia on Aug. 6 and 9, respectively, to complete group play.