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U.S. Soccer And Rose Lavelle Return To Cincinnati As The Team Says Farewell To Legendary Player Carli Lloyd

Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath
Tony Dejak
U.S. forward Carli Lloyd, right, congratulates Tobin Heath after Heath scored during the second half of the team's international friendly soccer match against Paraguay, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, in Cleveland. The United State won 9-0.

The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team takes on Paraguay Tuesday at TQL Stadium. It's the fifth time the USWNT has played in Cincinnati, and will feature hometown standout Rose Lavelle and two-time FIFA World Player of the Year, Carli Lloyd.

Lavelle, an outspoken fan of the Queen City, is enthusiastic about the match.

"To be able to come home and show off the city to all my teammates, I'm just so excited about," she says. "I know that TQL is going to be bumping and have the best atmosphere. ... It's going to be really fun and I'm just going to be glowing the whole night out of happiness."

Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski calls that Lavelle's "extra motivation" to perform well in the game.

"She's a special player and we're very happy with where she's at - the stage she's at in her career - and how she's performing and we're excited to have her on the team and on the field (Tuesday)," he told media on Monday.

Lavelle, who told media she doesn't view herself as a star of the team despite game statistics suggesting otherwise, is beginning to embrace the mantle of role model for youth players in Cincinnati.

"Hopefully people - girls, boys - from Cincinnati can see themselves in me and see that it's possible for a Midwest person to get to this level," she says. "When I was growing up I had (former national team player) Heather Mitts to look up to ... and I was obsessed with her and I think it just made it so much more real to me that somebody from where I was from was in a place that I wanted to get to. I hope that I can serve as that same kind of inspiration to people in this area."

Farewell To A Legend

Forward Carli Lloyd announced shortly after the Tokyo Olympics that this season would be her last in professional soccer. She plans to retire at the end of the 2021 National Women's Soccer League season. Lloyd is going out on a hot streak, scoring five goals - tying the team record for most goals scored in a match - in the USA's 9-nil win over Paraguay Thursday in Cleveland.

Andonovski says Lloyd has done a lot for the game in the United States and calls it an honor and humbling experience to have worked with her.

"She deserves stadiums and complexes and fields to be named after her and she deserves statues. She's a legend, an absolute legend," he says.

The USWNT will face Korea Republic in the the remaining two matches Oct. 21 and Oct. 26 in Kansas City and St. Paul, respectively.

History Of USWNT In Cincinnati

The team last played in Cincinnati in 2017, defeating New Zealand 5-0 in front of 30,596 fans at Nippert Stadium. U.S. Soccer reported it was the largest crowd ever in Ohio to attend a Women's National Team match. TQL Stadium has a capacity of 26,000 so that record won't be broken Tuesday. Lavelle, a Mount Notre Dame High School graduate, was recovering from a hamstring injury and played just 33 minutes during the 2017 match.

Prior to 2017, the United States women played at Paul Brown Stadium in 2004 during a 10-game celebration tour after winning Olympic gold in Athens, Greece and in 2008's "Achieve Your Gold Tour." Former national team defender and St. Ursula graduate Heather Mitts featured in both the 2004 6-0 win against New Zealand and the 2008 0-0 draw with Korea Republic.

The USA's first match in Cincinnati was a 7-0 victory over Canada June 12, 1993 at Galbraith Field.