By Bryan Jeon
U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo got thrown off the team by coach Greg Ryan after she lashed out in an interview after the U.S. was embarrassed in a 4-0 semifinal loss to Brazil and with Solo on the bench.
Ryan replaced Solo, who had three shutouts in a row and had not given up a goal in nearly 300 minutes of play, for the smaller Briana Scurry to face a quick Brazil team.
In her interview, Solo said, “It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that. There’s no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves…You have to live in the present. And you can’t live by big names. You can’t live in the past.” [In reference to Scurry’s presence when the U.S. last won the World Cup in 1999 and beat Brazil in the 2004 Olympics.]
The U.S. was unbeaten in 51 straight games before Thursday’s loss, but Sunil Gulati, president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, did not say if Ryan would coach the team at next year’s Beijing Olympics, with Ryan’s contract up at the end of the year.
The U.S. beat Norway, 4-1, in the semifinal game while Germany shut out Brazil, 2-0, in the championship game. Looks like it didn’t matter who was in the goal for the U.S. on Sunday although, all this talk of Brazil being such a great team is giving too much credit, as they were shut out by Germany. Ryan made the wrong decision and was embarrassed at it and sadly, he doesn’t regret what he did.
I agree with the decision that Solo should have been kicked off the team for her remarks, as she would have just been a distraction to her teammates, but the problem is that she shouldn’t have needed to make those remarks had the coach made the right decision in the first place. Solo should have been at the goal for the U.S. in the game against Brazil, reeling off of three straight shutouts. I just don’t see enough justification in making adjustments at the goal based on an opposing team over an extremely hot hand in Solo.
I agree with Solo that she should be able to speak her mind because she got benched for doing absolutely nothing wrong, and the coach just cost the team an opportunity to play in the championships. Ryan should not head the U.S. team at next year’s Olympics and hopefully, Solo can return to the team soon to head the goalkeep for the United States Women.