O'Hara helps send Americans into World Cup final on Sunday


Stanford grad Kelley O'Hara scored on a brilliantly played ball in the 84th minute to clinch the United States women's national soccer team's 2-0 victory over Germany in the semifinals of the FIFA Women's World Cup in Montreal on Tuesday.

Carli Lloyd, who assisted on O'Hara's goal, converted a penalty kick in the 69th minute to open the scoring.

The Americans meet the winner of Wednesday's match between defending champion Japan and England on Sunday at 4 p.m. in Vancouver.

"They are two quality teams," Lloyd said. "England has been playing well. Japan we are familiar with. It will be a battle no matter who it is. We'll be ready to go."

The Japanese beat the U.S. in penalty kicks in the last World Cup.

"We're in a World Cup final and one opponent stands in our way," American coach Jill Ellis said. "It's an opponent and it doesn't matter who it is."

The U.S. held possession for much of the first half, taking seven shots, including three on goal. Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Julie Johnston each recorded a shot on goal for the Americans. Germany was limited to five shots, one on goal.

O'Hara, who saw her first action of the Cup in Saturday's quarterfinal win over China, entered the game for Tobin Heath in the 75th minute.

The second goal began with some smooth passing on the right side between Lauren Holiday, Abby Wambach, and then to Meghan Klingenber, who touched the ball toward Lloyd along the sideline.

The midfielder took it toward the goal line, reversing the ball and crossing it to O'Hara.

"I had been switched out to left mid," Lloyd said. "Meghan gave to me and I dribbled and went end line and crossed it with my left foot. Kelley was full steam coming. It was an unbelievable goal; the commitment on her part."

Germany sharpshooter Celia Sasic had the match's first golden opportunity when she lined up for a penalty kick after Johnston was called for a foul.

Sasic's shot went wide as American goalie Hope Solo dove the wrong way.

Lloyd did not miss, sending the ball into the upper left corner.

"Them missing was great for us and then us connecting," Lloyd said. "I have taken PK's after training the last seven months. I walked up, got the ball and all I knew was I had to convert."

Cardinal grad Christen Press, who also has a goal during the event, did not play.

Solo was credited with her fifth consecutive shutout, and Team USA extended its scoreless streak to 513 minutes, dating to a first-half score by Australia in its tournament opener.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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