Rose Lavelle herself couldn't have written a better script for her return to Cincinnati with the U.S. women's national team.
In what will go down as one of the best nights in the young history of TQL Stadium, Lavelle starred for the Americans in an 8-0 rout of FIFA world-ranked No. 47 Paraguay.
Lavelle directly contributed to four goals in the opening 15 minutes as she helped lay the foundation for a second dominant win over the Paraguayans in the span of five days.
The USWNT defeated Paraguay, 9-0, on Thursday at Cleveland's FirstEnergy Stadium.
Lavelle, a product of Mount Notre Dame High School and Cincinnati United Premier, opened the scoring for the USWNT with a close-range header in the fourth minute to bring the TQL Stadium crowd to its feet, and to a full roar.
Alex Morgan delivered a hat-trick, and American legend Carli Lloyd added a late goal to polish off an unforgettable night at FC Cincinnati's home stadium before a crowd of 22,515.
"First, I want to say thank you to Cincinnati. I think the atmosphere out there was unreal," USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski said in post-match remarks. "It was energetic, enthusiastic. There were times when I was getting goosebumps just being on the sidelines. It was great, so I want to thank you for hosting us and I want to thank everyone for their support.
"In particular with Rose Lavelle, she's special. You saw that with the first few goals. She had impact scoring the goal or assisting on the goals. That's who she is, she's a very important part of our team – an integral part of our team – and I have no doubt she will stay like that or keep getting better in the future."
After Lavelle scored her goal, she then assisted on two further goals over the next four minutes. She combined with Sophia Smith and Morgan on their goals in the sixth and eighth minutes, respectively.
After Morgan scored her second of the night in the 14th minute, Lavelle added a third assist as Catarina Macario got on the score sheet for the Americans.
"I think I'm probably going to say this over and over again: It was just so special," Lavelle said. "Just to be able to step out there in front of all my family and friends. Again, this is a city that I feel like has built me into who I am today. It was incredible."
Macario would score the Americans' eighth and final goal of the night in the 82nd minute.
After winning first game of the back-to-back series with Paraguay on Thursday, it was evident early that another rout was on in Cincinnati.
However over-matched Paraguay might have been, though, it managed to hold America scoreless for 30-plus minutes going into halftime. That resistance broke down after 38-plus minutes.
Morgan completed her hat-trick with a 53rd minute tally, and then gave way as part of a wave of American substitutions.
Coming on as part of the substitution was Lloyd, who played in what's expected to be her third-to-last match with the USWNT program ahead of her retirement.
Lloyd scored five goals in Thursday's match in Cleveland against Paraguay to move into third place on the USWNT's all-time scoring list (133 goals), passing Kristine Lilly in the process.
With Lloyd on a kind of four-match farewell tour to close out her national team career, fans responded to her introduction with one of the loudest cheers of the night.
Lavelle's night ended in the 70th minute as she was swapped out for Kristie Mewis. Her departure from the match brought the TQL Stadium crowd to its feet as fans sent her off with a standing ovation.
There was one more thrill for those in attendance as Lloyd tapped home from close range for her 134th career national team goal.
The USWNT players will decamp for their respective club sides and will reconvene in October for back-to-back matches against Korea Republic (Oct. 21 and Oct. 26 in Kansas City, Kansas and St. Paul, Minnesota).