Carli Lloyd will summon golden memories of London 2012 as she bids to inspire Manchester City Women to Wembley glory on Saturday.
It was at the English national stadium that Lloyd scored twice for the United States in their 2-1 Olympic final victory over Japan almost five years ago.
And it will be back to north London for the reigning FIFA player of the year as she and City tackle Birmingham City Ladies in front of a bumper crowd at the SSE Women’s FA Cup final.
Lloyd saw great hopes of Champions League glory crushed as Nick Cushing’s side fell 3-2 on aggregate to French powerhouse Lyon in the semi-finals, but the American is determined to leave a parting gift as her three-month stint nears its end, with City chasing their first Women’s FA Cup triumph.
Lloyd typically produces the spectacular on the big stage, emphasised by her hat-trick in the 2015 World Cup final.
She said: “That’s why I do what I do, and those are the most amazing moments where I like to rise to the occasion. I’ve got a very good visual memory of Wembley, from playing in front of 80,000 fans in 2012, and receiving the gold medal, so it’s pretty exciting to be going back and competing for another final.
“The Olympics being held in England was phenomenal. It was great all around, getting to play at Old Trafford, at Newcastle and Wembley, these amazing stadiums. And now to be heading back to Wembley, hopefully we’ll have lots of fans in the stands and it’ll be a great match.”
City won the Women’s Super League and WSL Continental Tyres Cup last season, emerging as England’s dominant club side but with the FA Cup still absent from their honours board.
“I know the club have been really going after this for the last four years since they’ve been a part of this league and it’s very special to them,” Lloyd said. “I want to help them win it, do everything I can.”
Over 35,000 tickets have been sold for the occasion, indicating there should be a record crowd for a Women’s FA Cup final. Last year 32,912 saw Arsenal beat Chelsea, marking a new highest attendance for the match.