OTTAWA, Ontario — Carli Lloyd finally was able to express her creativity on field.

Aided by tweaks in the lineup, Lloyd, a 32-year-old midfielder, was able to roam more Friday night, scoring for the United States in a 1-0 victory over China that sent the Americans to the semifinals of the Women’s World Cup against top-ranked Germany.

“These are the moments I live for,” Lloyd said of her goal on a 51st-minute header. “Having the freedom to attack and do what I do best enabled me to create some chances. Just overall so happy we got the win – and on to the semifinal.”

Hope Solo had her fourth straight shutout for the second-ranked United States, which has reached the final four of all seven Women’s World Cups but hasn’t won since beating China on penalty kicks for the 1999 title at the Rose Bowl.

Seeking their third world championship, the Americans haven’t allowed a goal in 423 minutes since the tournament opener against Australia. Solo set a record for a U.S. goalie with her 134th win, passing Briana Scurry.

The U.S. plays 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.

“I think it was a highly energized performance,” U.S. Coach Jill Ellis said. “I thought we took care of the ball well, still created a lot of opportunities. So yeah, we’re really pleased.”

Morgan Brian replaced Holiday in the middle with Lloyd, Tobin Heath and Kelley O’Hara – making her first start since March – the flanks. Amy Rodriguez started up top with Alex Morgan, injecting more pace, while 35-year-old Abby Wambach, the record-holder for goals in women’s international soccer, didn’t enter until the 86th minute.

The move to put Morgan in the middle allowed Lloyd to move up, 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.

“I don’t just want to be a participant in the World Cup,” Lloyd said. “I want to have a legacy. I want people to remember me and let my play do the talking.”

Morgan, who started in her third straight match after recovering from a bone bruise, said Lloyd’s play helped spark the whole team.

“I really liked getting a central midfielder on the field,” Morgan said. “She took that opportunity and ran with it.”

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.