A well-placed cross from U.C Berkeley graduate Alex Morgan that found Carli Lloyd in the box for the first of her two goals gave the United States and early lead on its way to a 2-1 win Thursday over Japan in the London Olympics women's soccer final.
Images: U.S. v. Japan for Gold
Lloyd scored again in the second half of the thrilling rematch of 2011 World Cup finalists at a sold-out Wembley Stadium.
Morgan helped the United States to a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute. She chased down a ball in the box and delivered a cross to the far post. Morgan, from her left foot, chipped a ball across the goal that tailed away from goalkeeper Miho Fukumoto and toward teammates Abby Wambach and Lloyd.
Lloyd slashed in front of Wambach to head the opener past Fukumoto for the United States' 15th goal of the Olympics.
It was Morgan who sent the U.S. into the final with her game-winning header in an extra-time semifinal against Canada, winners of the bronze medal game. Morgan finished the tournament with three goals
Morgan's family and friends -- several with red, white and blue face paint -- watched the game in near her hometown in Southern California.
"It was such a journey," Morgan said after the final. "We leaned on each other when we needed to."
Two acrobatic defensive plays about 10 minutes later saved the United States' early lead. Christie Rampone stepped in front of a shot toward an open U.S. goal.
U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo stretched less than a minute later to thwart a lazy header that nearly dropped under the cross-bar. The U.S. escaped again with the lead in the 33rd minute when Miyama Ohno's shot rocketed off the cross-bar.
Lloyd scored again in the 54th minute when she unleashed a strike after a long run from mid-field, giving the United States a 2-0 lead. Japan answered with a goal in the 63rd minute and threatened several times late in the game, but failed to equalize.
A sold-out crowd at Wembley Stadium watched the rematch of the 2011 World Cup Final, which Japan won on penalty kicks. About 83,000 tickets were sold for the much-anticipated matchup.
The contest set a record for attendance at a women's Olympic soccer game. The crowd on Thursday night was announced at 80,203, besting the 76,481 for the gold medal game in Atlanta in 1996.