Hope Solo’s streak of shutouts for goalkeeping came to a dramatic end on Tuesday as the USWNT faced Colombia at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Solo, who holds the record for the most consecutive shutouts by a man or woman in soccer, looked surprisingly like an amateur goalkeeper as Colombia’s Catalina Usme lobbed a free kick and the ball bounced through Hope’s legs and into the back of the net.
According to Bleacher Report, this is the first time the Colombia’s women’s soccer team has not only scored against Hope Solo and the United States team, but was also their first goal in an Olympic game. The goal on Solo sent the Colombian players into a tizzy as they led the match against the number one women’s soccer team in the world.
— WomensSoccerUnited (@WSUasa) August 9, 2016
Solo, who made several integral saves for the USWNT in Saturday’s game against France, continued to struggle throughout the game, and Usme would once again find the back of the net past Hope’s leaping body in another free kick at the end of the match. Though Colombia is eliminated from progressing and the USWNT managed to eek out a first place finish in their group, the draw was undoubtedly unnerving for the USWNT newcomers as well as seasoned veterans such as Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, and Megan Rapinoe who just recently made her return to the USWNT following an ACL tear in December. The game left many U.S. soccer fans wondering if Jill Ellis’ roster changes since the last year’s World Cup domination can live up to their expectations of bringing home Olympic gold.
While Hope Solo is considered the top goalkeeper in the world, she couldn’t have picked a better game to play awfully in. The fact that the team merely needed a draw to come out on top of their bracket meant Ellis was willing to give second-string players an opportunity to showcase their talents. Perhaps Hope was just playing for fun this game or perhaps it was something bigger.
Since Solo made her first appearance in the Rio Olympics, Hope has been the victim of constant heckling by the crowd. Every time Hope would come near the ball these past three games, the crowd would boo and shout “Zika” whenever Solo passed the ball off to a teammate. It seems the Brazilians didn’t take kindly to Hope’s frequent Twitter posts regarding her fear of contracting the Zika virus while attending the Olympics.
— Hope Solo (@hopesolo) July 22, 2016
Since arriving in Brazil, however, Solo has been gushing about the beauty of the country and the hospitality of the people. Hope tried to shrug off the backlash during post-game interviews according to Yahoo Sports.
“I’m glad the fans had fun,” Solo told the media shortly after the USWNT Olympic win over New Zealand. “If they had more fun at my expense, more power to them.”
Solo also apologized if her tweets, which Hope meant to be humorous, came off as offensive, stating that she had investigated the Zika virus and the possible effects on pregnant women because Solo and her husband were planning on starting a family soon. Hope reminded reporters that female athletes were especially cautioned to take into consideration whether or not they would participate in the Rio Olympics due to the outbreak. Still, Hope chose to compete. Though Solo may have just had an off game, one has to wonder if the jeering is starting to take its toll.
More than likely, however, its not. Hope Solo is used to being criticized for her personal life choices including arrests for domestic violence and a suspension from the USWNT following the arrest of her husband for drunk driving. And Solo found herself a pariah after sharing words of disdain for the USWNT coach Greg Ryan after being benched in favor of Brianna Scurry during the 2007 World Cup.
Despite her issues, Hope Solo is without a doubt the most decorated female goalkeeper in the history of soccer and for good reason. Two-time winner of the coveted FIFA Women’s World Cup Golden Glove, 2009 recipient of U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year, two Olympic gold medals, and a World Cup championship, Hope Solo’s talent is unquestionable. And if nothing else, Hope has shown she has the ability to bounce back from adversity.
As for Hope’s thoughts on the game, Solo told NBC who is covering the Rio Olympics directly following the match that she had to let it go and focus on being at the top of the podium in the finals.
“I’m going to choose to have short term memory and put this one behind us, put this one behind me personally,” Hope said.
[Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images]