While it’s extremely difficult for Lilly to remember all of her 130 goals, picking her 13 favorites was even more of a challenge. But with some help from the U.S. Soccer Media Guide, and a journey into her brain’s memory banks, this is the list she came up with…
May 22, 2010 vs. Germany in Cleveland, Ohio
This would be Lilly’s final goal and it comes off an assist from Abby Wambach after a dazzling dribbling run.
Said Lilly: “I remember Abby taking a long touch, so I initially started a run to get the ball, but she kept dribbling so I backed off and she fed me. I didn’t get a lot of power on it, but I got enough to finish it off.”
Oct. 6, 2002 vs. Italy in Cary, N.C.
At the Nike U.S. Women’s Cup, Lilly scores off a near-post header.
Said Lilly: “I think it was the only header goal of my career. I closed my eyes.”
March 13, 2005 vs. Denmark in Vila Real de San Antonio, Portugal
Lilly scores directly off a corner kick at the Algarve Cup. Her swerving blast from the right corner flies over everyone and plants itself into the left side netting.
Said Lilly: “That goal was just fun because it doesn’t happen very often and when I was little, I always wanted to score on a real ‘banana kick.’”
July 15, 2006 vs. Sweden in Blaine, Minn.
Lilly smashes in a volley in the final minute of the match to give the USA a 3-2 victory. The goal caps a riotous span of three-goals in four-minutes in which the USA had taken the lead in the 89th, before Sweden tied the game in the first minute of stoppage time. Lilly scored in the second minute to complete the hectic finish.
Said Lilly: “That was just one of those moments where a ball happened to be there and I just kicked the heck out of it. I hit it well and it went perfectly into the goal. Obviously, the timing in the game made it even more exciting.”
Aug. 17, 2004 vs. Australia in Thessaloniki, Greece
Lilly scores the USA’s lone goal against Australia at the 2004 Olympics, running onto a long cross from Julie Foudy to hit a first-time volley back across the face of the goal and into the right corner.
Said Lilly: “I like this goal because I can remember timing my run on Julie’s serve, and it worked out perfectly. Some people think you don’t think about those things, you just do them, but on this one I timed the run and Julie put it on a dime.”
April 10, 1993 vs. Germany in Atlanta, Ga.
Directly off a cross, Lilly collects the ball on her chest and strikes a full volley into the upper right side of the net from just inside the penalty area.
Said Lilly: “I think I like this one because I remember it so well. You always want to pop one off your chest and hit a full volley, but you never seem to get the chance in a game.”
Aug. 13, 1987 vs. China in Shenyang, China
Lilly’s first-ever goal. Carin Gabarra flicks a ball in the path of the 16-year-old Lilly and she hits a half-volley “looper” over the ‘keeper from about 20 yards out.
Said Lilly: “I remember feeling after that game that I had something to contribute to the team. I felt a little more confident after that.”
Oct. 11, 2003 vs. Canada in Carson, Calif.
Lilly opens the scoring in the 2003 Women’s World Cup Third-Place match with a blistering half-volley, running onto a bouncing ball to score from just inside the penalty area.
Said Lilly: “It was kind of an emotional goal. We were playing in the Third Place match and we didn’t want to be there. It had a lot of power behind it so it got a lot of emotions out.”
Nov. 26, 2006 vs. Canada in Carson, Calif.
Lilly buries a penalty kick in the very last minute of overtime to defeat Canada for the CONCACAF title.
Said Lilly: “That’s one of those rare moments in the game where I either make the kick and we win, or I miss and we go to penalty kicks. I remember stepping up to it and just wanting to finish the game off. I shot it to the goalkeeper’s left into the corner. It was a pretty good PK for me so I was psyched about it. And we won, so that was the best thing about it.”
June 13, 1995 vs. Japan in Gavle, Sweden
At the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Lilly strikes an almost 40-yard free kick that swerves so viciously that the ‘keeper steps out of the way of the shot as it plows into the net.
Said Lilly: “I remember being excited that I scored and wanted to share it with (the injured and not playing) Michelle Akers because we always used to practice free kicks together.”
June 19, 1999 vs. Denmark in East Rutherford, N.J.
Lilly finishes the scoring in the USA’s 3-0 opening game win at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, powering a shot into the left corner in front of a sell-out crowd of 79,972 fans at Giants Stadium, where she watched her beloved Jets while growing up as a child.
Said Lilly: “I just remember after scoring that goal, I had a lot of release of nerves and frustration because I had just gotten fouled before that and it wasn’t called. My next touch was the goal.”
Sept. 21, 2003 vs. Sweden in Washington, D.C.
In the opening game of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Lilly finishes a beautiful build up, running onto a back-heel flick from Mia Hamm to power a laser-beam left-footed shot into the left side netting from just inside the penalty area to make it 1-0.
Said Lilly: “It was just complete joy and it was special because it was the opening goal of the tournament.”
July 10, 1999 vs. China in Pasadena, Calif.
Lilly nails the third penalty kick into the upper left corner in the historic shootout of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final, made even more important as China had missed their third attempt on the previous kick.
Said Lilly: “My first thought…the sound of the crowd was thundering. I was just engulfed by the noise. Then, wow…what a relief. I felt relieved because I knew I had done my job, then I got nervous for our next kickers.”