Solo Posts 16th Career Shutout with U.S. Nationals

July 30, 2006

CARY, N.C. - Former Washington standout Hope Solo blanked her 16th opponent as the goalkeeper for the United States' women's national soccer team, Sunday in a 2-0 exhibition victory over Canada.

Solo picked up the shutout, making three saves, but was most effective while snagging about a half-dozen Canadian crosses that flew into dangerous areas. She also got the better of a hard collision with Canadian captain Charmaine Hooper in the second half after the forward had challenged her on a bouncing ball in the penalty box.

Abby Wambach netted a first-half penalty kick and Natasha Kai scored in the second half for the Americans, who recorded their third domestic win of the year. The U.S. women improved their overall 2006 record to 9-0-3.

Another former Husky, Tina Frimpong, started on defense for the U.S. squad before being replaced after halftime.

The U.S. scored its first goal right before halftime after forward Heather O'Reilly got her head on a long U.S. service, directing it down the right side of the penalty area to Wambach. The U.S. forward touched the ball around Canadian defender Christine Latham to the right and then rounded the Canadian defender to the left. Latham and Wambach were battling with their arms as Wambach tried to squeeze past, but Latham perhaps got a tug on her shoulder and the U.S. forward went down hard just inside the penalty area. Referee Sandra Serefini didn't hesitate when she pointed to the penalty spot.

Wambach took the kick and slotted her shot low to the right as Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod went the other way. It was Wambach's 57th career goal in 75 international matches.

The USA got the clincher in the 80th minute off a nice piece of attacking soccer. Sierra Mist Woman of the Match Leslie Osborne won a header off a Canadian goal kick, sending the ball back to Wambach, who touched it to Carli Lloyd about midway into Canada's defensive half. The U.S. substitute then chipped it over the Canadian defense to the streaking Kai. McLeod saved Kai's first shot on the breakaway, but the Hawaiian pounced on the rebound and knocked the ball into the open net from four yards out. It was Kai's fifth career goal in just eight career games.

Defensive midfielders Marci Miller and Osborne played key roles in the game, winning numerous aerial battles to combat Canada's long ball style. With Canada playing a 4-3-3 like the USA, it was difficult for the Americans to build from the back against Canada's three front-runners. The USA sent numerous long balls up to their forwards as well, many that were well-won by Wambach on header flicks.

The Canadians were also good in the air, doing well to battle the U.S. forwards for high balls, but the Americans had most of the play throughout the match, out-shooting their northern neighbors, 13-5.

It was a physical game that might have deserved more than the three yellow cards issued as it featured 34 fouls (20 on Canada), but the visitors never really threatened the U.S. goal in the second half as the Americans pushed hard for a second score.

In the 52nd minute, McLeod dove to her right to snag a drive from Wambach and then one minute later, pushed a sizzling shot from Kai outside the left post. On the ensuing corner kick, Kai jumped high over a defender, but sent her header over the bar.

In the 67th minute, Wambach went horizontal to meet a free kick from Lloyd, but her diving header from seven yards out rolled wide left of the goal. Two minutes later, Wambach got a step on Sharolta Nonen down the right flank and sent a cross on the ground, but O'Reilly couldn't get free of her defender and McLeod was first to the near post cross, getting a hand on the ball before jumping on the loose ball.

In the 78th minute Cat Whitehill came close to scoring her fourth goal in the last three games, this time off a scramble from a corner kick when the ball went through McLeod's hands, but the Canadian goalkeeper was able to recover to grab it.

The win completed a sweep of the USA's three July matches. The American women also defeated Sweden, 3-2, in Blaine, Minnesota on July 15 and took down Ireland, 5-0, on July 23 in San Diego. The USA will return to action on Aug. 27 against China at the brand new Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., with a 10 a.m. Pacific Time kickoff.

On Sept. 13, the USA will play at the new PAETEC Park in Rochester, N.Y., against Mexico. That match will kickoff at 6 p.m. PT. Both games will be broadcast live on ESPN2.

Solo (Richland HS/Richland, Wash.) has been the USA first-choice goalkeeper in 2005 and 2006, starting 10 of the 11 matches and posting six shutouts. She received the Outstanding Goalkeeper award following a silver-medal performance at the Algarve Cup in March.

A veteran of the international circuit, Solo earned 29 caps for appearances between the posts for the U.S. Nationals. She did not surrender a goal during seven international games in 2005, covering a span of 630 minutes.

Solo finished at UW in 2002 as the Huskies' all-time leader in every goalkeeping category. Solo started 68 games, amassing 325 saves, 18 shutouts and a 1.02 goals against average. In each of her final two seasons (2001, 2002), she was one of 15 nominees for the Hermann Trophy that honors the national player of the year.

A four-time all-conference honoree, Solo received the 2001 Pac-10 Player of the Year award. She surrendered only 12 goals in 17 games in 2001 en route to a school single-season record 0.68 goals against average. In 2000, Solo led Washington's to its only Pac-10 women's soccer championship.

Frimpong (Hudson's Bay HS/Vancouver, Wash.) completed her collegiate career in 2004 as Washington's all-time leader in goals (42) and points (97).

From her forward position, she led the Pac-10 in goals as a junior (13) and senior (15) and was named the Conference Player of the Year twice, in 2003 and 2004. Frimpong garnered All-America acclaim in 2003 and 2004.

Frimpong has earned 12 caps for international appearances with the full national team where she has been converted to a defender.

(Some text courtesy of U.S. Soccer Communications)
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