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Lloyd leads USA past China and into semis

Carli Lloyd is rarely listed among team USA's stars but is proving to be the best center midfielder in the world at the World Cup.

Carli Lloyd is rarely listed among team USA’s stars but is proving to be the best center midfielder in the world at the World Cup.

Even without two of their starting midfielders and even with their strikers still struggling, the United State women’s soccer team was able to beat China, 1-0, to advance to World Cup semifinals against Germany.

That battle will be a clash between No. 1 and No. 2 in the world, and USA will be in the rare underdog.

So often it is Abby Wambach or Alex Morgan or Hope Solo or Megan Rapinoe who get the major spotlight as the stars of the US team, but Carli Lloyd, who very well may be the best midfielder in the world and one of the elite overall players, showed just how great she is as she lifted America past China with the only goal of the game.

In the 51st minute, Julie Johnson send a cross from the wing into the box and Lloyd got her head on it and perfectly placed it into the bottom right corner of the goal, past a reaching Wang Fei’s reach.

It was the second-straight game Lloyd scored and her play has really saved the attack for the Americans. The back line has been the reason USA has advanced as far as they have. Led by Solo, the Americans have shut out their last four opponents. The team has only averaged one goal per game in that stretch but any time a team pitches a clean-sheet, they are not going to lose.

And thanks to Lloyd, they have been able to avoid draws on all but one occasion. Against Columbia, in the first game of the knockout stage of the World Cup, Lloyd netted a penalty kick, and then the only goal against China to lead the team to another victory.

But at least while the team struggled to finish, they did not struggle to create opportunities. USA dominated possession and out-shot China 17-6 and doubled their opponents shots on goal and controlled possession nearly 60-percent of the time.

In just the second minute of the game Amy Rodriguez, an unused substitute in three of the previous four games of the World Cup, ripped off a spectacular shot that had the potential to be a goal, but ended up being off target. She had four of the team’s shots as a starting striker and seems like a sure bet to stay in the starting lineup as Wambach and Sydney Leroux continue to struggle.

USA’s next opponent, Germany, won an epic game against France earlier in the game to set up the semifinal clash. They battled to a 1-1 draw and advanced on penalty kicks, 5-4.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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