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Despite off-the-field distractions, Hope Solo shines in USWNT win over Australia


Photo by USA Today Sports


Despite all of the off-the-field distractions, media questioning and overall upheaval, Hope Solo might just have been the most sturdy member of the U.S. Women’s National Team against Australia on Monday night.

Lackluster through the opening few minutes, it was Solo that provided the calming influence to start the game, bailing her backline out of trouble time and time again with diving saves.

Solo’s performance was all the more impressive given recent events, as issues stemming from a 2014 arrest resurfaced just ahead of the USWNT opener. Regardless of all of the hoopla going on off-the-field, Solo says she remained “terrifically focused” on her play, leading to a performance that might just have saved her team’s bacon in the opening game of the tournament.

“I was mentally prepared for a tough first half,” Solo said. “Historically, it takes us some time to get our feet under us and really getting rolling and to kind of find our groove. There’s going to be jitters. We have young players. Even without young players, we tend to take some time to find our groove. I expected that. I expected to weather the storm and eventually play a little bit more comfortable in the second half.”

For coach Jill Ellis, there might not have been much comfort in the second half if not for Solo’s standout performance. With Australia repeatedly applying pressure in the opening moments, the U.S. could have easily been two or three down before they even batted an eye.

However, it was Solo that led the way for a U.S. side in need of a superhero, and Ellis was quick to point out just how focused Solo has been in recent months despite all of the attention away from the game.

“The last two or three months, I think she’s looked really, really sharp in training and played well in games,” Ellis said. “She has had laser focus and I thought that was on display again tonight. She was a game-changer again.”

Media questions leading into Monday’s World Cup opener tended to center around Solo’s situation and whether the new reports about her arrest were affecting the team. Ellis said the team had “moved on” and Carli Lloyd, Solo’s roommate in Winnipeg, told reporters: “Honestly, didn’t discuss it with her for one second.”

A judge dismissed the case against Solo in January after the alleged victims were uncooperative and refused to be disposed under judge’s orders, but prosecutors in Kirkland, Washington are appealing to re-open the case.

While Ellis lauded Solo’s performance on Monday, her comments were echoed by both Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, who praised all of Solo’s efforts, but focused especially on a 13th minute stop on a Samantha Kerr shot that changed the complexion of the game.

“A little bit of a shaky game for us, especially the first 30 minutes,” Rapinoe said. “Hope came up absolutely huge for us. I think she had three saves that nobody else in the world could make.”

Morgan added: “Hope’s saves were huge. Especially the volley from the cross. I don’t know if any other goalkeeper in the world would save that one. That was pretty amazing to see her save our butts.”

While Solo may have saved the USWNT’s butts in game one, the goalkeeper knows its just the first step in a process, one that will continue to be tested game-in, game-out.

With Nigeria and Sweden lurking, Solo knows that it won’t get any easier from here on out, as the goalkeeper is expecting the team to improve mightily as the tournament continues on.

“Obviously, it’s not good enough,” Solo said. “But, it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish, so as long as we steadily climb, I think we’ll be just fine. The teams in our group are very good, not just Sweden. Nigeria as well. They put on a show today against Sweden.

“It’s going to be a tough group and we’re going to have climb with each game.”


  1. Is it sexist of me to only want to comment on how hot she is? Is it also sexist of me that while I watch the replays I just look at the women’s butts bouncing around in their shorts in slow motion? Don’t get me wrong, I watch the games and very much enjoy women’s soccer, it’s fun to watch and I’ll argue that until the end… But jeez, those replays just get me every time.

    • Yes it’s sexist. But if you are a straight male, how could you think otherwise? BTW, a lot of women follow American football because they like to look at men’s butts, so this is not restricted to the male gender.

  2. And this is why you keep an domestic abuser with an substance problem on your team regardless of her transgressions.
    Sunil Gultati for FIFA president.

    • Alleged domestic abuser. The case was dismissed. The witnesses changed their stories, She wasn’t even tried, much less convicted. Apparently today if you are accused of something many people assume you are guilty. Read The Innocent Man by John Grisham and then start researching the Innocence Project and all the miscarriages of justice that occur in this country./

  3. Too many long passes last night; that plus a quiet Abby suggests maybe pairing Leroux (who had a very strong game) with Rodriguez might result in less hopeful long balls in favor of more build-up play. Also, where was Klingenberg when De Vanna scored? Surely she knew De Vanna is Australia’s most experienced forward, and she scored on Klingenberg’s side of the 18!

    • Hume you are exactly one of thoe idiots that should crawl back under the rock you have been hiding under? You have NEVER met her and you are clueless. You have no idea her background ,difficulties she had to overcome etc. so grow up Better yet disappear

    • Abby needs to be on the bench. She is great to bring on if you need a goal, or even to kill a game. As you stated, starting w/o Abby may make the team actually string passes together.
      Hopefully Coach Ellis will look at match-ups. If an opponent is really weak on defending crosses, that is the only reason to consider starting Abby.

      • i’m glad i’m not the only one noticing that at this stage of her career, on top of not playing club ball like the rest of her teammates, Wambach should be a bench player! She has done alot for the women’s game over the years but she should not be the focal point of our attack, even if “baby horse” is injured. Now, i will agree with Travis that if there is a mismatch noticed in tape study or thru distinct familiarity with an opponent she could start a match but she’s just not sharp right now because she hasn’t been getting games and yesterday proves this to be the case. Pinoe laid 3 dimes on her forehead that she muffed. If she does that in the knockout rounds that could derail the teams hopes of a title!

      • the issue was the 2 CMs for the US vs. the 3 midfielders for Australia, until Ellis made the adjustment and had Rapinoe pinch weakside on D to help. Press was already playing more centrally and let’s face it, she’s not really a flank player at this point in her career. she’s a forward. Look at the goal she scored, where she was positioned when the turnover occurred, etc. like a center forward.

        anyway, once Heath entered, the possession battle really changed and the US bossed the midfield the rest of the game. I would say that Ellis came out with a swing and a miss initially with her formational tactics but with Solo’s help in keeping the women in the game, figured it out in time

        and Lloyd was a tackling machine in the midfield. as much as Holiday struggled to find herself defensively the entire match Lloyd seemed to make tackle after tackle

  4. So glad for Hope. She came thru like the true champion that she is. And as for all those media hypes ” I am so fed up reading all this crap you phonies spew out; The court case is over “get over it”

    Here is my inequitable message to you all.. Please go find another rock to pound ” for your 15 seconds of fame”. The Hope Solo hype train has left the leave her alone and watch her succeed while you fail Your pathetic immature blogs, are no longer relevant. Quite frankly neither are you!

    Soccer Blood


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