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Rio Olympics 2016: Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan help USWNT topple New Zealand in opener

Written By Alec Brzezinski
Carli Lloyd
(Getty Images)

The U.S. women's national soccer team started its 2016 Olympic journey Wednesday with a 2-0 victory over New Zealand at the Mineirão in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Carli Lloyd, who recently returned from a major knee injury, opened the scoring in the ninth minute when she headed a Tobin Heath pass into the left corner of the net. It was Lloyd's 89th career international goal.

MORE: Best images from USA vs. New Zealand

Heath stutter-stepped on the left corner of the box, then flicked a brilliantly weighted ball into the center of the box, where Lloyd nudged it past keeper Erin Nayler's outstretched arms.

Alex Morgan added a goal 37 seconds into the second half when she patiently waited onside for the ball to come to her. She faked like she was going to the far post, then slipped a low shot into the near post.

MORE: USWNT plans to increase pressure for equal pay

A few heads were being scratched when the lineups were announced and Crystal Dunn was left out of the starting XI. USWNT manager Jill Ellis brought the winger on in the 51st minute.

Dunn's pace and power almost led to a goal in the 89th minute when she sent a lovely pass into the center of the box. Nayler got to the ball first, snuffing out the attack.

The USWNT will return to action Saturday against France.

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