Solo comes up big for 200th cap, US beats France 1-0
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil — Hope Solo was unaffected by the Brazilian boos as she made her 200th international appearance.
Solo came up big as the United States fought off France 1-0 on Saturday in an Olympic group match at Mineirao Stadium. Carli Lloyd scored the lone goal for the Americans.
Solo became the first goalkeeper, male or female, to reach the 200-cap mark in international play. She also became just the 11th U.S. player to reach that number of appearances.
Despite the milestone, Solo was still peppered with jeers from the crowd, who were riled up about social media posts she made about the threat of the Zika virus. The boos first started during the team’s 2-0 tournament-opening win against New Zealand on Wednesday.
The U.S. women, winners of last year’s World Cup and ranked No. 1 in the world, are vying for their fourth straight gold medal. With consecutive wins to open the Olympics, the United States is in good position for the quarterfinals.
France, ranked No. 3, was considered the Americans’ biggest rival in the group.
Lloyd broke through in the 64th minute against France goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi. Tobin Heath’s shot caromed off the post and while Bouhaddi struggled to recover, Lloyd tapped in the rebound for her eighth Olympic goal.
But for the first half, it was all Solo.
She tipped Wendie Renard’s header from a free kick off the crossbar in the 16th minute. Her most dramatic stop came in the 41st when Marie-Laure Delie charged in alone and Solo collapsed to her knees to smother the shot.
The 200th cap was Solo’s latest accomplishment in a 16-year international career.
Last month, she became the first goalkeeper with 100 international shutouts when the United States defeated South Africa 1-0 at Soldier Field in Chicago. It was also her 150th career win.
Solo won her second straight Golden Glove Award for the best goalkeeper at the Women’s World Cup a year ago. Over the course of the tournament in Canada, she had five clean sheets and allowed only three goals in seven games.
She irked some Brazilians before the games started when she posted a photo of herself decked out in mosquito netting and armed with insecticide, with the caption: “Not sharing this!!! Get your own! (hashtag) zikaproof.” As a result, fans at Mineirao Stadium have booed her every time she touched the ball.
The players said this week that the boos were not a distraction as the team was focused on becoming the first to win at an Olympics following a World Cup title.
United States coach Jill Ellis made a couple of changes in her lineup for the match. Whitney Engen came in for defender Julie Johnston, who is out with groin soreness, and Crystal Dunn came in for Mallory Pugh, who hurt an ankle in the opener.
But the most stunning lineup change was made by France, which did not start star Eugenie Le Sommer, who scored in France’s 4-0 victory over Colombia. It was not clear whether Le Sommer was injured.
With the victory, the United States improves to 16-0-1 this year. Lloyd’s goal was her 11th of the year and 90th of her career. She also scored in the opener against New Zealand.
The United States plays Colombia in its final group match on Tuesday in Manaus. France will play New Zealand.
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