MONTREAL - The Americans will have to wait until Sunday before they can call themselves the best women's soccer team in the world, but they certainly put their best feet forward against the world's top-ranked team Tuesday night.
Combining its steel-trap defense, a penalty kick and some gutsy play by Carli Lloyd, the second-ranked United States booked a spot in the Women's World Cup final with a dominating 2-0 win over top-ranked Germany at Olympic Stadium.
Lloyd converted a penalty kick and set up second-half substitute Kelley O'Hara for an insurance goal before 51,176 spectators, most of whom rooted for the Americans with their "USA! USA!" chants.
The USA will meet the winner of tonight's semifinal between Japan and England as it tries to break a 16-year drought and win its third world title.
The Americans put on another sterling defensive performance -- by the team as a whole, the back four defenders and goalkeeper Hope Solo -- as they blanked a team that entered the match with a tournament-best 20 goals. The Americans recorded their fifth consecutive shutout and extended their shutout streak to 513 minutes.
"It was an unbelievable duel between two tremendous teams," USA coach Jill Ellis said. "Just really, really pleased and proud of the players. I thought they stepped up."
No one more than Lloyd, who earned her third player of the match honor in six games.
"I feel we have really, really good momentum," she said. "We've got each other's backs. It's a good feeling. I have a really confident feeling going into [the final]."
The game turned during a nine-minute span in the second half when referee Teodora Albom ruled that center back Julie Johnston had taken down German striker Alexandra Popp in the box in the 59th minute.
Germany coach Silvia Neid felt that Johnston should have been red-carded on the play.
"The rules says yes, but she didn't get a red card," she said.
Celia Sasic took the penalty kick and drilled her attempt just wide left while goalkeeper Hope Solo dove the other way.
The miss gave the Americans a second wind and they went on attack. Alex Morgan came tantalizingly close in the 66th minute and was running toward the net when she was taken down inside the area by Annike Krahn a minute later. Krahn received a yellow card, the USA a penalty kick.
Lloyd had too much time to think as the referee dealt with an encroaching German player.
"It felt like it was a good five minutes while waiting," she said. "I didn't know what the goalkeeper was doing or saying. All I knew that I had to sink the PK."
Which she did, converting the penalty past German keeper Nadine Angerer into the right corner as the keeper dove in the other direction for a 1-0 lead in the 69th minute.
Only 10 minutes after replacing Tobin Heath in the 75th minute, O'Hara scored down low. This time Lloyd created the goal, finding space on the left of the box and crossing the ball to O'Hara, who got an inside position on a defender and volleyed the ball home for a 2-0 advantage.