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USA advances to Women's World Cup semifinal with win over China

Carli Lloyd of the United States celebrates with

Carli Lloyd of the United States celebrates with teammates after scoring her team's first goal as Wang Fei of China looks on in the second half in the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 quarterfinal match at Lansdowne Stadium on June 26, 2015 in Ottawa. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Andre Ringuette

OTTAWA - Make it 7-for-7.

For the seventh time in as many tries, the United States reached the semifinals of the Women's World Cup Friday night.

Midfielder Carli Lloyd celebrated her 200th international appearance in style, connecting in the 51st minute to lift the team to a 1-0 quarterfinal victory over China before 24,141 at Lansdowne Stadium.

Lloyd, in a rare appearance as captain, was named player of the match as she became the 10th American to reach the 200-game milestone.

The United States, the only country to reach the Final Four of every Women's World Cup, will meet Germany in a semifinal on Tuesday in Montreal. The Germans earlier survived a nail-biter by defeating France on penalty kicks, 5-4, after playing to a 1-1 draw in Montreal.

"The players that stepped out today . . . magnificent," Lloyd said. "The mentality of this team is to go at players to put them on their back heels and we did that tonight."

Goalkeeper Hope Solo recorded her fourth consecutive shutout. The team hasn't allowed a goal in 423 minutes.

The Americans started the match without three regulars, two due to yellow-card suspensions and the third due to a coaching decision. Midfielders Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday served one-game bans and striker Abby Wambach started on the bench to rest her 35-year-old body.

Coach Jill Ellis started Amy Rodriquez in Wambach's place and slotted Morgan Brian -- the youngest on the team at 22 -- alongside Lloyd in the middle 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.

Wambach replaced Rodriguez in the 85th minute.

Team USA put on a spirited display in the opening 45 minutes, dominating possession and scoring opportunities.

Striker Alex Morgan best exemplified the Americans' emotions at halftime when she slammed her fist to the turf in frustration after midfielder Dongna Li blocked her shot in the penalty area in stoppage time.

As it turned out, the most dangerous players in the early going weren't the forwards but center back Julie Johnston and O'Hara.

O'Hara had the early chances, firing a right-footed shot over the crossbar in the eighth minute before heading a left-wing cross from Heath out of bounds in the 21st minute.

Then it was Johnston's turn to come close. When China goalkeeper Fei Wang mistimed a cross into the area in the 26th minute, Johnston volleyed the ball from 12 yards that Li cleared. Five minutes later, Johnston fired a 12-yard shot that sailed over the bar.

The Americans continued to press forward in the second half and their effort finally paid off in he 51st minute. Johnston lofted a long, high pass into the area to Lloyd, who outjumped Rong Zhao at the penalty spot and headed the ball into the lower right corner for her 65th international goal.

Right back Ali Krieger almost gave the United States much-needed breathing room when she ripped a shot from long distance off the crossbar in the 73rd minute.

In one of China's rare attempts on goal, Lisi Wang sent a free kick on target straight to Solo, who had no problem snaring it in the 80th minute.


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