WASHINGTON — Hope Solo has never been shy about speaking her mind. Friday brought more of the same.
After the U.S. Women’s National Team fell to Sweden in the quarterfinals in a stunning loss, Solo immediately went on the attack. Ironically, she attacked the Swedes for refusing to attack.
The quotes are above. Here is the gist of what irked the U.S. keeper.
Pia Sundhage, the coach of the Swedish team, used to be the head coach of the U.S. team. She exploited the Americans’ offensive attack by playing a very patient, defensive game, simply allowing the U.S. to run the offense as it pleased. The United States possessed the ball for 64 percent of the game and attempted 26 shots to Sweden’s 3, but it could only put five of those shots on target and score once.
Sweden, meanwhile, put its only shot on target into the net, leading to a 1-1 tie through regulation and extra time. The only times the Swedes formulated much of an attack were counterattacks on U.S. slipups.
The United States lost the ensuing penalty shootout when Christen Press lifted her attempt above the crossbar and Lisa Dahlkvist converted hers.
Some will point out Solo was in goal when the team lost and should therefore be held accountable for the loss, but she made one remarkable save earlier in the shootout to keep America’s hopes alive, and the pressure is ultimately on the shooters, not the keepers.
With that said, Solo’s comments come off across as sour grapes. The Swedish team employed a specific strategy in the match, stuck to it for 120 minutes, and it worked. There’s nothing cowardly about that.
Sundhage later responded to the U.S. keeper, per SI.
“I don’t give a crap,” she told reporters. “I’m going to Rio, she’s going home.”