The United States and China PR square off in a rematch of the 1999 World Cup Final tonight at 4:30 p.m. PT on FOX in the quarterfinals at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada at Lansdowne Stadium in Ottawa.
Portland Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan scored her first goal of the tournament and Houston Dash midfielder Carli Lloyd converted from the penalty spot to lead the U.S. Women's National Team to a 2-0 victory Monday over 10-women Colombia in the Round of 16.
After playing limited minutes in the group stage due to a bone bruise in her left knee, Morgan started for the second straight game and played all 90 minutes for the first time at the tournament. The goal gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead and was the 52nd in 88 international appearances for the Thorns forward.
It also came at a crucial point in the match - just three minutes after fellow forward Abby Wambach missed a penalty in the 50th minute.
Wambach then differed to Lloyd when the United States was awarded a second spot kick in the 66th minute and the Houston midfielder kept her nerve, slotting past Colombia's backup goalkeeper Stefany Castano , who came on after Catalina Perez was sent off for her challenge on Morgan in the 49th minute that led to Wambach's penalty attempt.
Lloyd now stands with 64 international goals in 199 appearances for the U.S. during her decorated career that includes two gold medals from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London games.
Still, Lloyd and her teammates are desperate to add a World Cup championship to their medal haul - with Sky Blue FC defender Christie Rampone the only player on the current U.S. squad to lift the World Cup trophy.
Rampone was an unused substitute at the 1999 World Cup Final against China, which was played in front of 90,185 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. and where the U.S. emerged as world champions when Brandi Chastain scored the decisive spot kick in a penalty shootout following a scoreless draw over 120 minutes.
The match Friday will be the first time since that dramatic day that the U.S. and China face each other at the World Cup.
However, the United States will be forced to do so without two key players in the midfield after Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City) and Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC) each picked up their second yellow card of the tournament, ruling them out of the next match through suspension.
Holiday, the 2013 NWSL MVP and 2014 NWSL Champion with FCKC, has played every minute so far at the tournament in Canada.
"I know that the players that come in [for our suspended players] will be confident of stepping in and doing well," U.S. coach Jill Ellis told reporters after the game. "I have upmost confidence in the players we have."
Ellis can also take solace in the knowledge that her backline of Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit) and Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash) as well as goalkeeper Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC) have been excellent throughout the tournament -posting their third-consecutive shutout in the game against Colombia.
The winner of the match Friday will book their place in a World Cup semifinal against either Germany or France on Tuesday, June 30 at Olympic Stadium in Montreal.