- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) - Carli Lloyd scored the sole goal in the 51st minute to give the United States a 1-0 win over China on Friday and a place in the semifinals of the Women’s World Cup.

“These are the moments I live for,” she said. “Having the freedom to attack and do what I do best enabled me to create some chances.”

The United States has reached the final four of all seven Women’s World Cups but has not won since beating China on penalties at home in 1999.

Seeking their third championship, the Americans have not allowed a goal in 423 minutes since the 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.

“It was a highly energized performance,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis said. “We took care of the ball well, still created a lot of opportunities.”

Morgan Brian replaced Holiday in central midfield, allowing Lloyd to play a more advanced role, giving her more room to roam and be creative.

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.

Lloyd scored the winning goal in overtime to beat Brazil for the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and scored both U.S. goals in the 2012 London final over Japan.

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 56 percent possession.

China coach Hao Wei took responsibility for the team’s loss, saying through a translator he could have used better tactics.

“They did an excellent job in Canada,” he said about his team, which failed to qualify for the 2011 tournament and has not advanced past the quarterfinals since 1999. “I hope that they can carry on the good work and make a greater contribution to soccer in China.”

In Saturday’s quarterfinals, host Canada faces England and Australia plays defending champion Japan.

The Americans face a considerable challenge against Germany, which lost to Japan in overtime in the 2011 quarter. Germany advanced earlier by beating France 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

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