Solo, USA Gearing up For Gold Medal Showdown
Aug. 19, 2008
BEIJING, China - By Mechelle Voepel, The Kansas City Star
United States goalkeeper Hope Solo wanted to take on Brazil last fall in a major showdown. The former University of Washington standout will get her chance now at the Olympics.
The U.S. women's soccer team trailed early but rallied and won its semifinal match against Japan 4-2 on Monday. Earlier, the Brazilians defeated Germany 4-1 in the other semi.
The USA-Brazil final is scheduled to be broadcast live at 6 a.m. Thursday on USA Network. It is a rematch of a semifinal game in the Women's World Cup last year that caused a huge disruption for the U.S. team.
'That was 10 months ago,' Solo said. 'I don't think it's a personal thing anymore, I think it's the team wanting to reclaim what we could have gotten in the World Cup. It has nothing to do with personal `anything' right now. Our team's playing out of their minds.'
It got very personal last year, when then-coach Greg Ryan opted to pull Solo out of goal and start veteran Brianna Scurry instead because of her successful history against Brazil. It was a controversial move that backfired, as Brazil torched the Americans 4-0 and a furious Solo blasted the decision in an interview afterward.
She said she had 'no doubt' she could have stopped the shots that Scurry let get past, and those remarks got Solo ostracized from the team.
Solo wasn't allowed to play in the bronze-medal match of the World Cup, and the gap between Solo and her teammates remained vast for months.
But here at the Olympics, the U.S. team seems to have re-bonded well enough with Solo, who is the undisputed top goalkeeper under coach Pia Sundhage.
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