Carli Lloyd started the scoring in the U.S.-Chile World Cup game Sunday with an absolute missile of a goal, and then celebrated with a gesture more suited to Pebble Beach than a soccer stadium in Paris.
Perhaps mindful of the controversy that engulfed the U.S. team after it repeatedly and joyfully celebrated goal after goal after goal in a 13-0 shellacking of Thailand in its World Cup opener last week, Lloyd and her teammates exchanged hugs and congrats. Then she turned and offered a genteel golf clap to celebrate becoming the first player to score goals in six straight Women’s World Cup games.
In case the point was missed, she did it after scoring her second goal of the match, too.
“The whole team is having fun with this,” Alex Morgan admitted after the game.
It was the best way to send a message after tongues were set wagging over the American players’ celebrations late in the rout against Thailand. That criticism, some argued, demonstrated an uneven playing field for women.
“The backlash to the final score — and the lopsided score itself — is a product of the way we treat women’s sports differently from men’s, Rachel Allison wrote for The Post. “Many of the traits valued in sports are violations of the qualities we expect women to embody. The result is that women athletes face a double standard: People still react negatively when women express the competitiveness and aggression that are routine in men’s sports.”
Some chalked up the celebrations to the Americans’ exuberance at winning the opener as they began defense of the Cup they won in 2015.
“I feel like we were pent up, and that sort of explosion of joy was very genuine,” Megan Rapinoe said.
Whatever it was, Lloyd had a great celebration Sunday, one that didn’t deepen the opponent’s humiliation and that might have put the whole controversy to rest.
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