When the U.S. women's national team take to the field at Old Trafford for their final group stage match of the Summer Games, they will not just be facing a North Korea side desperate to advance. They will also be facing the distraction that Hope Solo has brought onto the team.
Just days after Solo took to Twitter to blast NBC commentator and retired player Brandi Chastain, the United States will try and overcome that hurdle while remaining unscathed in group play when they battle a North Korea team (12:15 p.m. NBC Sports Network, NBCOlympics.com) that will likely need a win to have any chance of avoiding elimination.
The Americans have already booked their place in the knockout round, but head coach Pia Sundhage is sure to field a strong lineup similar to the one that defeated Colombia, 3-0, on Saturday in order to give her team a chance to close out group play with three victories. That means the likes of Solo, Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach should take to the field as the United States looks for another commanding win.
North Korea, meanwhile, is targeting a surprise victory over the group leaders. The North Koreans are currently in third place but their 5-0 loss to France on Saturday has put them in a hole in terms of goal differential, so anything but a loss is needed in order to improve their chances of reaching the knockout phase as a third-place qualifier, at the very least.
The latest episode of Behind the Crest, detailing the USWNT's road to Manchester, is after the jump:
How do you see the U.S. women's team faring against North Korea? Worried about the distraction Solo has created? Think it won't matter in this game?
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