Carli Lloyd (#10) and Hope Solo celebrate after the USA defeated China in FIFA Women's World Cup semifinals on June 26, 2015, in Ottawa, Canada. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
OTTAWA -- The United States earned a place in the FIFA Women's World Cup semifinals for an unprecedented seventh consecutive time with a 1-0 win over China on Friday night.
Midfielder Carli Lloyd celebrated her 200th international appearance in style, connecting for the quarterfinal’s lone goal early in the second half, before 24,141 spectators at Lansdowne Stadium.
The CONCACAF champion will next meet Germany on Tuesday in Montreal. The Germans survived a nail-biter earlier in the day, outlasting France on penalty kicks, 5-4, after playing to a 1-1 draw.
Goalkeeper Hope Solo won a USA-record 134th game, while posting her fourth straight shutout. In fact, Solo and the Americans have allowed only one goal throughout the competition, conceding none in the last 423 minutes.
The U.S. dominated action from the opening to the final whistle. Its efforts were finally rewarded six minutes after the break.
Center-back Julie Johnston lofted a long, high pass into the area for Lloyd, who outjumped Rong Zhao at the penalty spot and headed the ball past goalkeeper Fei Wang into the lower right corner for her 65th international goal.
The Americans started the match without three regulars. Midfielders Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday served one-game bans and Wambach was on the reserves bench.
U.S. head coach Jill Ellis started Amy Rodriquez in Wambach's place and slotted Morgan Brian, the youngest player on the roster at 22-years-old, alongside Lloyd in the center of the midfield. Tobin Heath was flipped to left midfield in Rapinoe's spot and Kelley O'Hara, normally a defender, started at right wing.
The strategy worked to perfection as the two-time World Cup winner constantly pressured China, which struggled to get out of its own end.