Carli Lloyd saw her penalty saved but scored at the second attempt ©Getty Images

Olympic champions United States advanced to the semi-finals of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) women's Rio 2016 qualifier as Carli Lloyd struck late on to secure a 1-0 victory over Mexico.

Lloyd, the 33-year-old midfielder who was named as FIFA World Player of the Year in January, rolled the rebound into the net after her 80th minute penalty had been beaten away by Mexican keeper Cecilia Santiago at the Toyota Stadium in Frisco.

The hosts, the gold medallists at London 2012 and also the world champions from last year in Canada, had been frustrated to that point as Mexico set up defensively in a 5-4-1 formation.

They received a stroke of luck, however, when Karla Nieto conceded the penalty for handball in the box and Lloyd was left thankful for her second bite of the cherry.

In the other game in Group A, Costa Rica demolished Puerto Rico 9-0 to keep their Olympic hopes alive.

Karla Villalobos scores for Costa Rica in their easy win over Puerto Rico
Karla Villalobos scores for Costa Rica in their easy win over Puerto Rico ©Getty Images

Karla Villalobos and Raquel Rodríguez both bagged hat-tricks in the rout, with Melissa Herrera, Diana Sáenz and Shirley Cruz also registering.

After a 5-0 demolition of Costa Rica in their opening clash, a game when Lloyd was successful from the spot, the US are top of the group on six points and are guaranteed one of two semi-final spots.

Mexico are second after they beat Puerto Rico 6-0 in their opening clash, but now face a winner takes all showdown with Costa Rica on February 15 for a place in the semi-finals with both countries locked on three points.

A point for the US against Puerto Rico will be enough for the Americans to win the group and face a supposedly easier last four clash, with the two winners of the semi-finals booking their place at the Rio Olympics.

Group B will continue tomorrow with Olympic bronze medallists Canada facing Trinidad & Tobago in a clash between two countries which began with victories.

In the other match at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Guyana will meet Guatemala with both sides looking to get their campaign up and running.