Carli Lloyd came up clutch again, having her penalty kick stopped but netting the rebound, lifting the U.S. over Mexico 1-0 and moving the Americans one win from the Olympics on Saturday.
Lloyd, who scored the Olympic gold-medal-winning goals in 2008 and 2012 and a hat trick in the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final, took the penalty in the 80th minute after a Mexican player was called for a controversial handball.
Her shot was stopped by the Mexican goalkeeper, but not smothered. Lloyd smartly pounced on the loose ball and easily put it into an open net in Frisco, Texas. Watch the goal here.
In the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament, the U.S. women next play Puerto Rico on Monday (8:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra), but the more important match is their following one.
The U.S. will play in a semifinal Friday, regardless of Monday’s result, with the semifinal winner going to Rio and the loser eliminated from Olympic qualifying.
The U.S. is heavily favored to qualify for Rio. It is ranked No. 1 in the world, with the next-best North American team ranked No. 11 (Canada, which is in the opposite CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament group).
If the U.S. and Canada win their respective groups, they would not have to play each other to qualify for the Olympics.
The U.S. roster for Olympic qualifying includes 13 of the 23 players from the World Cup, led by Olympic champions Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Hope Solo.
All 15 matches of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament will be streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra.
2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship Schedule
Frisco, Texas – Toyota Stadium
Houston, Texas – BBVA Compass Stadium
Times U.S. Central (U.S. Eastern in parentheses)
Group A: USA, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica
Group B: Canada, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana
Wednesday, Feb. 10 (Frisco)
Mexico 6, Puerto Rico 0
U.S. 5, Costa Rica 0
Thursday, Feb. 11 (Houston)
Trinidad and Tobago 2, Guatemala 1
Canada 5, Guyana 0
Saturday, Feb. 13 (Frisco)
Costa Rica 9, Puerto Rico 0
U.S. 1, Mexico 0
Sunday, Feb. 14 (Houston)
Guyana vs. Guatemala 12:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m.)
Trinidad vs. Canada 3 p.m. (4 p.m.)
Monday, Feb. 15 (Frisco)
Mexico vs. Costa Rica 5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
USA vs. Puerto Rico 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.) LIVE on NBCSN
Tuesday, Feb. 16 (Houston)
Trinidad & Tobago vs. Guyana 5 p.m. (6 p.m.)
Canada vs. Guatemala 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.)
Friday, Feb. 19 (Houston)
Group B winner vs. Group A runner-up 4:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m.) ***
Group A winner vs. Group B runner-up 7:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m.) ***
Sunday, Feb. 21 (Houston)
Semifinal winners 4 p.m. (5 p.m.) NBCSN at 11 p.m.
***USA’s semifinal will air LIVE on NBCSN
MORE: Hope Solo wouldn’t go to Olympics if she had to choose today