MONTREAL – The United States is headed to its second straight Women’s World Cup final after a 2-0 victory over world No. 1 Germany on Tuesday in front of a raucous pro-U.S. crowd of 51,176 fans.
Carli Lloyd scored for the second straight match and second-half substitute Kelley O’Hara added a late insurance goal to send the U.S. to the Women’s World Cup final for the fourth time in seven tournaments.
Lloyd scored from the penalty spot in the 69th minute, sending Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer the wrong way. Alex Morgan drew the penalty kick after having her path obstructed by Germany defender Annike Krahn on the edge of the box. Lloyd has now scored in three consecutive games.
“These are the moments I live for,” Lloyd said. “These are the moments when I kind of roll my sleeves up and say to myself I have to step up.”
The goal came eight minutes after Celia Sasic missed the first penalty kick in Germany’s Women’s World Cup history, pushing her right-footed effort wide of the net in the 59th minute. Julie Johnston received a yellow card – not a red card- for bringing down Germany forward Alexandra Popp in the box as the last defender, keeping the U.S. at even strength with Germany.
“I wish I could have that moment back,” Johnston said. “It was definitely a defender’s worst nightmare. This was a team performance and the team definitely lifted me up after that moment happened.”
Lloyd then played playmaker in the 84th minute, getting to the endline and driving a cross toward goal for O’Hara to tap in.
The U.S. will play winner of Wednesday’s Japan-England semifinal in Edmonton, Alberta, in the final on Sunday in Vancouver.
U.S. coach Jill Ellis started in a new formation for the first time, playing Morgan as the lone striker with Lloyd underneath her as a withdrawn forward in a 4-4-1-1 formation. The new setup allowed Lloyd, Morgan Brian and Lauren Holiday to all start in central roles.
Lloyd had her best game of the tournament in the quarterfinals against China while playing in a more attacking role and continued to improve in the semifinals. Brian’s presence as a more defensive midfielder gave Lloyd that “freedom,” as she often called it.
Holiday missed the quarterfinal due to suspension, but both she and Megan Rapinoe returned to the starting lineup for the U.S. on Tuesday after missing the quarterfinal due to suspension.
Transition was the operative word for a cracking first half of the match in which the United States forced Angerer into two point-blank saves.
Angerer first kick-saved Julie Johnston’s header in the 7th minute on a Rapinoe corner kick, and eight minutes later she denied Portland Thorns teammate Morgan, again with a left-footed kick-save. Morgan bent her run to stay onside and midfielder Tobin Heath played a ball in stride for Morgan and on the striker’s preferred left foot, but Morgan’s low shot was kicked clear by Angerer.
The United States’ pressure on Angerer and her back four was sustained throughout much of the first half. Morgan and Heath both had half-chances near the end of the half, but Morgan failed to put hers on frame and Heath’s was blocked after a scramble in the box following a U.S. corner kick.
Brian collided heads with Popp – causing the latter’s head to bleed – in the 29th minute, but both players stayed on the field. Brian said after the game that she was “fine.” Both coaches said that they have complete faith in their medical staffs and are confident that neither player suffered a concussion.
With the shutout, the United States hasn’t given up a goal since the opening minutes of the World Cup against Australia; the Americans are currently on a 513-minute shutout streak.
Each of the three times that the United States and Germany have met at a World Cup, the winner off that match has gone on to win the World Cup (USA in 1991 and 1999; Germany in 2003).
The U.S. is now 21-4-7 all-time against Germany.