OTTAWA, Ontario » Carli Lloyd scored on a header in the 51st minute, and the United States beat China 1-0 Friday night to reach a semifinal against Germany at the Women’s World Cup.
Hope Solo had her fourth straight shutout for the second-ranked United States, which has reached the final four of all seven Women’s World Cups but has not won since beating China on penalty kicks for the 1999 title at the Rose Bowl. Seeking their third world championship, the Americans have not allowed a goal in 423 minutes since this year’s tournament opener against Australia.
The U.S. plays top-ranked Germany, the 2003 and ’07 champion, on Tuesday in Montreal.
Despite missing midfielders Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday, who were suspended for yellow card accumulation, the U.S. managed a more attacking attitude and extended its unbeaten streak against China to 25 matches dating to 2003.
"I think it was a highly energized performance," U.S. coach Jill Ellis said. "I thought we took care of the ball well, still created a lot of opportunities. So, yeah, we’re really pleased."
Morgan Brian replaced Holiday in the middle of field, with Tobin Heath and Kelley O’Hara — making her first start since March — the flanks. Amy Rodriguez started up top with Alex Morgan, injecting more pace, while Abby Wambach did not enter until the 86th minute.
Wearing the captain’s armband, Lloyd got the breakthrough with her 65th goal in 200 international appearances. Julie Johnston lofted a long ball into the penalty area and Lloyd met it with her head 10 yards from the goal line and bounced the ball off the artificial turf and past goalkeeper Fei Wang. That brought cheers from the overwhelmingly pro-American crowd of 24,141 at Lansdowne Stadium.
Before that, the best American chance was by Johnston in the 26th minute that was cleared in front of an open net by defender Li Dongna. Johnston also had a header off a corner kick in the 31st minute that popped over the crossbar.
Brian had a chance to double the lead in the 73rd, but her long strike hit a post, and Lloyd missed high on the rebound.
The U.S. had a 17-6 advantage in shots and its offense was less stagnant than in the round-of-16 win over Colombia. The American face a considerable challenge in Germany, which lost to Japan in overtime in the 2011 quarterfinals.
Germany advanced earlier by beating France 5-4 on penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie. The United States has an 18-4-7 overall record against the Germans, including a 3-2 advantage in World Cup matches.
In Saturday’s quarterfinals, host Canada faces England and Australia plays defending champion Japan.