In defense of Hope Solo, her comments about the USA’s loss to Sweden have come in the heat of the moment — fresh off a devastating defeat, it’s understandable that she’s completely lost the plot.
Alright, that’s enough of defending Hope Solo.
Her comments following the shootout defeat are beyond contemptible. They contain neither grace, logic, nor class. While watching Solo employ the ‘dark arts’ before Sweden’s final spot kick, wandering around outside the goal, adjusting her gloves, smirking ostentatiously, a large part of me just wanted Sweden to hammer the ball home — damn the patriotic repercussions of wishing for such a thing.
Is there anything more cowardly than bending the laws of the game to your own purpose? Not when you're Hope Solo. Only other people are cowardly.
After seeing these post-game comments, I’m particularly glad that Sweden converted that winning spot kick. For someone that plays the goalkeeping position, her understanding of the game as a combination of both attack and defense seems woefully misplaced.
“I thought that we played a courageous game,” said Solo. “I thought that we had many opportunities on goal. I think we showed a lot of heart. We came back from a goal down; I’m very proud of this team.”
Fair enough. We don’t have to dwell on the fact that the American’s ‘courageous game’ was to simply get the ball to hyper-talented individuals and just let them do their thing. When you're that much better than everyone else, who needs to prepare for an Olympic quarter-final!
We don’t have to talk about the complete lack of a cohesive, team-oriented game plan from Jill Ellis. Strategy, togetherness, strength in numbers — those things are for cowards. Those things are for Sweden.
Oh, the fact that the United States could only score one goal, resulting from a Swedish defender comically laying off the ball into Alex Morgan’s stride with her face, doesn’t matter either. That was a courageous goal. That's how the American's drew it up on the training ground.
“I also think we played a bunch of cowards. But, you know, the best team did not win today; I strongly, firmly believe that. I think you saw America’s heart. You saw us give everything that we had today. Unfortunately the better team didn’t win.”
The way Sweden flew into tackles, threw themselves in front of the ball and fought tooth and nail for every 50-50 was such a wussy thing to do.
With the likes of Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Mal Pugh and Crystal Dunn, the United States are a million times more talented than Sweden. Everybody knows that. So, yes, they’re ‘the better team’ in that sense. But did they even prepare for their opponent? They were undone by a simple counter — something they should've certainly seen coming.
— Hope Solo (@hopesolo) August 11, 2016
Once again, however, a team should probably be judged by playing as one. Feeding the ball to Lloyd, Morgan and Heath and just letting them dribble around marvelously doesn’t necessarily constitute a great team plan. If that's all it takes, we might as well not even play the game. Just give the trophies to the USA women and Brazil men and let's go home.
“I don’t think they’re going to make it far in the tournament. I think it was very cowardly. But they won. They’re moving on, and we’re going home.”
They won't go very far? They're in the semi-finals, there's not much further they can go.
You’re going home, and the Olympics won’t be any worse off because of it.
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