OTTAWA — Carli Lloyd sprinted toward the right sideline, her face contorted in joy, before she aimed a flying kick at the corner flag. Her teammates, giving chase close behind, mobbed her in celebration, forming a jubilant tornado of white jerseys and neon green socks.
Fifty minutes had gone by in the United States’ World Cup quarterfinal match against China on Friday when Lloyd took flight near the penalty spot and drilled a powerful header into the lower corner of the goal to break a scoreless tie.
It was a cathartic moment, a turning point in the game. Before Lloyd’s goal, the Americans had sent 12 fruitless shots and a continual series of unrewarded attacks toward China’s goal, their frustration mounting with each foray. But Lloyd’s tally, from Julie Johnston’s pinpoint cross, punctured the tension in TD Place Stadium and propelled the United States to a 1-0 victory.