Thailand goalkeeper thanks Carli Lloyd for words of encouragement |
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Associated Press

PARIS — The goalkeeper who allowed 13 goals when the United States routed Thailand at the Women’s World Cup has thanked Carli Lloyd for offering words of encouragement following the humiliating defeat.

Lloyd sought out Sukanya Chor Charoenying immediately following the record-breaking U.S. national team’s victory. Sukanya wasn’t expected to start in Tuesday’s opener but got the nod over Waraporn Boonsing.

“Thanks so much, Lloyd. Your words that you told me make me strong,” Sukanya posted in appreciation to Lloyd on Twitter, adding emojis including Thailand’s flag, a heart and an American flag. “Keep going for this tournament and so on. Firstly, I felt disappointment in worst situation but this is the biggest experience in my life.”

The United States was criticized after the opener for running up the score and celebrating after all 13 goals. Players defended the score, pointing to the importance of goal differential in the group stage and the excitement of scoring on the sport’s biggest stage.

On Friday, Lloyd said she felt empathy for the Thai team and wanted to comfort the goalkeeper, but that she wasn’t sure if Sukanya understood what she said. Lloyd said she told her to keep her chin up.

“Obviously, I’m a player and this team is full of players who want to battle it out, who want to go full throttle, but we are human, and there is a human element to it. And you’ve got to feel for a goalkeeper letting in 13 goals,” Lloyd said. “If you don’t, I don’t think you have much of a heart.”

The lopsided score in Reims set a World Cup record for both goals and margin of victory. Alex Morgan tied a tournament record with five goals.

But the 5-foot-5 Sukanya also made a number of saves, too.

Lloyd passed on more encouragement to her on Twitter.

“All you can do is give it your best each and every day. Keep fighting and never give up!! Still 2 more games to play,” she wrote.

Lloyd, who came into the game late, was among the players who scored. The United States next plays Chile on Sunday in Paris.

Mewis’ moment

After scoring in her first Women’s World Cup game, Sam Mewis scanned the crowd, found her parents and blew them a kiss.

The gesture was meant as a thank you for all the hard work Bob and Melissa Mewis had put in to make sure their youngest daughter was prepared for the sport’s biggest stage.

“For them to see this big moment in my life and in my career, it was awesome and I really feel like we got to share that,” she said.

Mewis finished with two goals in the rout of Thailand to open the tournament in Reims on Tuesday.

Mewis, 26, didn’t make the roster for the 2016 Olympics but was named an alternate for the squad. A fixture on the youth national teams, she became a regular with the senior squad in ‘17 , until a knee injury that November sidelined her for the first half last year.

She bounced back and made the roster for the World Cup, but there were no expectations she would start until the day before the opener.

That’s when she got word that center back Becky Sauerbrunn was ruled out because of a quad injury and defensive midfielder Julie Ertz was sliding to the backline. That opened up a spot for Mewis to start in the midfield, along with fellow World Cup rookies Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle.

Oh, and they both scored, too. As did first-timer Mallory Pugh.

Mewis also was credited with a pair of assists.

“She’s a dynamic player that can impact a game,” coach Jill Ellis said in the run-up to France. “When you go to a World Cup, in midfield you need to have players who can score from distance, who can get in the box and obviously play-make. I think there’s versatility in Sam.”

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