Hope Solo – The World’s Best?
She may need to be if the U.S. are to beat Germany on Tuesday. Two years ago German keeper Nadine Angerer was awarded the Ballon d’Or, yet Solo is often referred to as the best goalkeeper in the world, particularly in the U.S.
In Tuesday’s semifinal showdown between the top two ranked teams in the world Solo will likely have to outperform her rival at the other end of the Olympic Stadium pitch.
Her recent controversies apparently behind her, Solo and the airtight American defense have racked up four consecutive shutouts. Solo has not been beaten since Australia’s Lisa De Vanna put one behind her in the 27th minute of the first U.S. match.
The long time U.S. number one made two huge saves early in that World Cup opener, saves that allowed her teammates time to play their way into a game that the U.S. would go on to win 3-1. Since those two saves things have been pretty quiet in the U.S.A. goalmouth.
Since that Australia match the U.S. has not conceded a goal in 423 minutes of World Cup play. Impressive. Less impressive? In those four games the stacked American offense has scored just four goals of its own.
The U.S. impressed versus China, yet managed just a single goal. Angerer and her defense won’t be easily breached, so the pressure will be Solo and her group to keep that shutout streak going.
Do the Americans need to keep a fifth consecutive clean sheet to make it back to the World Cup final? Not necessarily, but after four fairly uneventful games Solo’s teammates may need their keeper to show that she is in fact the best.