Former Husky Hope Solo leads Americans to soccer tournament title

Jan. 20, 2008

GUANGZHOU, China (AP) -Shannon Boxx scored on a looping header in the 77th minute and Hope Solo was credited with the shutout Sunday as the United States beat China 1-0 to win the Four Nations Tournament.

The Chinese held off the Americans with a conservative, low-pressure game, as their players sagged back in their own half of the field most of the time.

But the Americans - undefeated in the three-game tournament - kept attacking and eventually Boxx headed the ball over the goalkeeper from 11 yards out.

Former Washington standout Hope Solo, briefly dismissed from the U.S. team for criticizing the former coach's decision to drop her during the World Cup, started in goal for the second time in the tournament and had one save.

Solo registered her 30th shutout, the second-highest total ever for a U.S. goalkeeper behind only Briana Scurry. She also ranks second among National Team goalkeepers with 54 caps for international appearances with the USA squad.

Solo (Richland HS/Richland, Wash.) finished her UW career 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. Solo surrendered only 12 goals in 17 games in 2001 en route to a school single-season record 0.68 goals against average. In 2000, she led Washington's to its only Pac-10 women's soccer championship.

Solo also recorded a shutout Wednesday in the American's 4-0 opening-round victory over Canada.

'At the end of the day, it was speed,' said new U.S. coach Pia Sundhage. 'You get tired after a while and the header Boxx put in the goal, that was just excellent - a good finish for us in this tournament.'

Sundhage, hired two months ago, was pleased with the overall performance of her team, which had 12 players from last year's squad that finished third in the World Cup.

'The Chinese team forced us to change the system in the first half to the second half,' said Sundhage, an assistant coach for China last year. 'The defending of the Chinese team challenged us a little bit, which was good because this is what it's all about. The next game, we'll make sure we can attack in different ways.'

China coach Elisabeth Loisel was impressed with the Americans' speed and strength, but thought her players could improve.

'I'm very happy with our team's defense,' said Loisel, China's seventh head coach in four years. 'I believe through different training and competition, we'll get good results.'

Canada finished third after a long-range goal by Jodi-Ann Robinson in the fourth minute of stoppage time for a 1-1 draw with Finland. The Finns scored in the first half.