Carli Lloyd

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Ellis stepping down as USWNT coach

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Two-time World Cup champion Jill Ellis is going out on top.

Ellis, 52, is stepping away from the United States women’s national team after 127 matches and a 102W-7L-18D record since 2014.

[ MORE: Gana Gueye joins PSG ]

The Portsmouth, England native won everything but Olympic gold with the USWNT, and was named the 2015 Women’s World Coach of the Year.

In a statement, U.S. Soccer announced that Ellis will stay with the team through the victory tour and then moved into an ambassador’s role. It also says the new USWNT general manager’s hiring is “imminent.”

From USSoccer.com:

“The opportunity to coach this team and work with these amazing women has been the honor of a lifetime,” Ellis said. “I want to thank and praise them for their commitment and passion to not only win championships but also raise the profile of this sport globally while being an inspiration to those who will follow them. I want to sincerely thank the world class coaches and staff with whom I’ve had the privilege to work – they are quintessential professionals and even better people. And finally, I want to thank the Federation for their support and investment in this program, as well as all the former players, coaches, and colleagues that have played an important role in this journey.”

Ellis sometimes confounded with her lineup choices, but ultimately did a masterful job navigating the deepest squad pool and group of egos in the world. She transitioned the USWNT from a side focused on Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd to a group that utilized a more complete attack, and won World Cups with both Wambach and Lloyd accepting super sub roles.

Who the USSF chooses to take her place will have a gigantic hill to climb, as Europe is investing heavily in women’s soccer and the sport is as competitive as ever. The new coach will also have to help keep the USWNT on track on the field as it battles the federation for equal pay and conditions.

USWNT’s response to celebration critics? Troll them all

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PARIS (AP) Carli Lloyd had just scored on an 18-yard volley to put the United States ahead 11 minutes in against Chile. After leaping, pumping a fist and hugging teammate Lindsey Horan, she raised both hands chin high and made four tiny pitter-patter claps, the type seen more frequently at Pebble Beach than Parc des Princes (WATCH HERE).

A message? You bet.

[ WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: USA, Sweden advance ahead of Group F finale ]

Easy wins and lots of goals are par for the course when it comes to the U.S. women’s soccer team.

“I can’t take credit for it. I’m not sure if Lindsey is taking credit for it,” Lloyd said after a 3-0 victory Sunday night advanced the U.S. to the round of 16. “She had told me if we score, that’s what we’re going to do so I just went along with it after I did my little celebration But it was fun. I think it made a statement on the sideline there. It was cool.”

A record-setting 13-0 rout of Thailand that opened the tournament for the Americans sparked a debate back home. Celebration had not been discussed this much since Kool & the Gang. Some cried poor sportsmanship. Others argued players shouldn’t be asked to let up on soccer’s biggest stage.

[ COPA AMERICA: Lodeiro’s golazo paces Uruguay; Qatar, Paraguay draw ]

All the harrumphing was heard across the Atlantic.

“I guess we could have just passed it around the back for a million times, but that’s boring. That’s disrespectful to everyone: fans, ourselves” said 33-year-old Megan Rapinoe, the pink-haired veteran famous for running to a corner flag and screaming “Born in the USA” into a television microphone after goal against Colombia in the 2011 World Cup.

“The only thing you ask of an athlete really is to put it all out there and do the best you can. It’s not in our DNA ever.”

Coach Jill Ellis speculated Lloyd’s inspiration was her spouse, professional golfer Brian Hollins.

“I’m guessing it was a shout-out to her husband,” Ellis said.

Horan said Emily Sonnett, a 25-year-old defender at her first World Cup, suggested responses. Trolling critics was the goal.

“We decided to do something different today,” Horan said with an impish smile. “Handshakes were part of it. Golf clap was part of it.”

Women’s World Cup: USA, Sweden advance ahead of Group F finale

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A roundup of Sunday’s action at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France…

[ WATCH: Carli Lloyd’s opening goal is vicious and clinical ]

USA 3-0 ChileFULL RECAP

The United States and Sweden were widely expected to finish one-two — or two-one — in Group F from the moment the draw was held, and that’s exactly what happened on Sunday as the Americans breezed past Chile for a 3-0 victory to remain top of Group F with one game left to play.

On the back of their tournament-opening, 13-goal victory over Thailand, the Yanks sit atop the group with six points and a +16 goal differential.

Carli Lloyd made her way into the starting lineup, as one of seven changes to Jill Ellis’ starting 11, and responded with a pair of goals in the opening 35 minutes. The first came after 11 minutes (WATCH HERE), and her second just 10 minutes before halftime.

Lloyd had the best possible opportunity to complete her hat trick in the 81st minute, but the36-year-old, 2015 World Player of the Year smashed her penalty kick just wide of the right-hand post of Christiane Endler, whose Herculean performance (WATCH HERE, HERE and HERE) kept the Chileans within touching distance when it could just as easily have finished 7-0.

Julie Ertz bagged the USWNT’s second goal in the 26th minute (WATCH HERE).

Sweden 5-1 Thailand

In the day’s other game, Sweden cruised to a comfortable 5-1 victory over Thailand — to go with their 2-0 victory over Chile — to also reach the six-point mark, but with a goal differential of only +6. When the Americans and Swedes meet in their Group F finale on Thursday (3 p.m. ET), they’ll be battling for top spot with a hefty, tie-breaking advantage favoring the USWNT.

There is, of course, the interesting subplot that whichever side finishes top of Group F will be just one more victory away from a quarterfinals matchup with the host nation and strong favorite to win this tournament, France. On the other hand, whoever finishes second will move to the other half of the bracket and avoid the French until a potential meeting in the final.

While it was Sweden’s day on the whole, the lasting memory of Sunday’s game will forever be Thailand’s emotional celebration following their first goal of the tournament.

Monday’s Women’s World Cup schedule

Group A

China v. Spain — 12 p.m. ET
South Africa v. Germany — 12 p.m. ET

Group B

Nigeria v. France — 3 p.m. ET
South Korea v. Norway — 3 p.m. ET

USWNT clinches knockout round spot at World Cup

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Carli Lloyd scored two of the United States’ three first-half goals, as the USWNT clinched a spot in the knockout rounds of the 2019 Women’s World Cup with a 3-0 defeat of Chile on Sunday in Paris.

Julie Ertz scored the other goal, while Lloyd missed a penalty kick in her bid for a hat trick.

All goals came in the first 35 minutes. The second half explosion never materialized, stymied by Chilean goalkeeper Christiane Endler.

The U.S. will meet Sweden on Friday for the honors of winning the group and a potential quarterfinal test from hosts France. A draw or better sends the women to the group title.

The USWNT is also one goal away from matching the record for most goals scored in a group stage. Norway netted 17 in 1995.

[ MORE: Pogba says he could leave Man Utd ]

The Yanks went ahead with a historic, beautiful goal from Lloyd, who was the first to a weak clearance and smashed the ball into the side netting.

It was her sixth-straight World Cup game with a goal, a new record.

Chile fell behind 2-0 when Ertz snapped her head back to push a corner kick off the keeper and into the goal.

The U.S. was fortunate that an offside flag stopped goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher from a howler of a concession, and the defending wasn’t always on point given the straight-forward nature of the win.

Lloyd scored her second with a powerful header off Tierna Davidson’s corner. That made her the 10th player to score 10 goals at the Women’s World Cup.

To be fair to the Yanks, the score line could’ve been much higher had PSG goalkeeper and Chilean captain Endler not been outstanding for most of the match. She made a pair of unreal saves on Christen Press in the second half to keep it 3-0. heading into the final 25 minutes.

It took a penalty call through VAR to put the USWNT on the true precipice of four. The foul was on the chalk of the 18, which counts as the 18, but Lloyd smashed her penalty wide of the post.

WATCH: Lloyd’s USWNT opener is vicious and clinical

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Carli Lloyd scores World Cup bangers.

It’s just what she does.

The 36-year-old New Jersey-born midfielder zipped onto a loose ball at the back of the 18 and smoked the ball with perfect technique to give the USWNT an early lead over Chile in the second match of its Women’s World Cup title defense.

[ STREAM: USWNT-Chile ]

A weak clearance was pushed to the top of the box, and Lloyd read it all the way.

She punctuated her celebration with a golf clap of sorts before running down the line of teammates for low fives.

With the goal, Lloyd is the first player to score in six-straight World Cup games.