Outspoken U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo will not be with the team for Sunday's third-place game against Norway in the Women's World Cup.
Coach Greg Ryan announced the decision 24 hours before the game and just two days after Solo went public and criticized him for benching her for the semifinal with Brazil. Ryan went with 36-year-old veteran Briana Scurry, but it didn't matter. Brazil overwhelmed the top-ranked Americans 4-0, superior in every phase of the game.
"We have moved forward with 20 players who have stood by each other, who have battled for each other," Ryan said on Saturday. "And when the hard times came - and the Brazil game was a hard time - they stood strong. Now it's the 20 who have stuck together who will be ready to go out and compete against Norway."
I think Ryan is the one who looks bad here. Why didnâ€™t he stick with Solo? She was a on a perfect roll, having not given up one goal during the entire World Cup. Scurry was coming off an injury and is definitely not the same player she was several years ago.
The four goals that Brazil scored against Scurry all looked like they could have been blocked. Scurry looked lost out there, and although I admit that the loss wasnâ€™t completely her fault, I donâ€™t know how anyone can say she played a good game. Solo most certainly could have blocked at least a couple of those shots, which would have at least given her team a chance.
Ryan is trying to blame Solo for not being a team player, but in the end, the coach made a decision and it didnâ€™t work out. If Scurry had played well, none of this would even be an issue.
Taking Solo out just because Scurry had never lost to the Brazilians was a bone headed move. Why mess with perfection? This is a prime example of a coach getting in the way of his teamâ€™s success. Dance with the one who brought ya, Ryan. Itâ€™s the oldest rule in the book. Let your best players play and donâ€™t mess with a teamâ€™s chemistry, especially if theyâ€™re winning.
If the U.S. team loses to Norway with Scurry in goal, Ryan will look even worse. He had better pray for a consolation win, not that anyone cares at this point. No one remembers anyone except the championship team.
Defending champion Germany will face Brazil in Sunday's championship game. The Brazil loss marked the second straight time the United States has fallen in the semifinals of a Women's World Cup, failing to repeat titles of 1991 and '99.
Solo, 25, in a widely seen interview, said Ryan had made the "wrong decision" by benching her. She also said she would have made the saves, an open criticism of Scurry who led the United States to the '99 title and gold in the 2004 Olympics.
Scurry will start against Norway.
Captain Kristine Lilly and star striker Abby Wambach said Solo apologized at a team meeting. And on her myspace page, Solo said she did not mean to criticize Scurry. However, she maintained Ryan's decision was wrong.
(Credits: cbs sportsline, aol and Soccer World)
Copyright © 2010 Ed Attanasio
So Long to Solo
Copyright © 2010 Ed Attanasio
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