It is unclear if the USA's Abby Wambach (pictured) will start in the FIFA Women's World Cup quarterfinal against China on June 26, 2015. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
OTTAWA, Ontario -- For four games, fans have waited for the United States women's national team to break out of its offensive funk.
Perhaps the fifth time will be the charm, so that can be a sixth and, maybe, a seventh game.
The Americans meet China in the FIFA Women's World Cup (FWWC) quarterfinals on Friday at Lansdowne Stadium with the hopes of reaching the semifinals for an unprecedented seventh successive time.
"We have a new mindset that the tournament is starting now," said right-back Ali Krieger. "Fully prepared. We're confident. This is it. This is what we've been working for our entire lives. We're going to show up and have some fun."
Fun would be reaching the Tuesday’s semifinal against the Germany-France quarterfinal winner.
Despite going unbeaten in four FWWC games, the CONCACAF champion (3W-1D-0L) has not been running on all cylinders. Defensively, it has been superb, conceding only once, but the attack has produced only six goals.
"We know we haven't played our best," defender Becky Sauerbrunn said. "We're working through that. I think it's getting better with each game and when it finally does click, we're going to be very fearsome."
The U.S. must play the quarterfinal without half its midfield as Megan Rapinoe, the side's most dependable attacking threat, and Lauren Holiday will be serving one-game yellow-card bans.
Probable replacements are Christen Press, who could take on Rapinoe's duties on the left side, and Morgan Brian, the youngest player on the team at 22, teaming with Carli Lloyd in the middle.
It was not known whether striker Abby Wambach will start. The 35-year-old has logged 159 minutes in her last two matches.
"Abby has some unique tools," said USA head coach Jill Ellis. “Against Colombia, we felt on set pieces and ball in the box, we would have a very good chance in the air with her presence. I look at China and what they present and what tools we have to break them down. She would be ready to go 90 minutes certainly if asked and if it happens."