Remember the mess former Olympic women's football coach Greg Ryan made at last year's Women's World Cup benching goalkeeper Hope Solo on a whim in favor of veteran Brianna Scurry? The result was a predictable 4-0 loss to Brazil, a tirade from Solo and disdain from her teammates.
In the end, Ryan was not long for his job and deservedly so. Solo, meanwhile, has come just about full circle. Today in Beijing, she carried the U.S. to the gold medal with a 1-0 overtime win over, yes, Brazil. Solo made a half-dozen game-saving stops, including putting up a stone wall against the tournament's leading scorer Cristiane in the first half, and Markgraf 20 minutes before time. Solo told Reuters:
"Vindicated? I feel great, I feel amazing. I just won a gold medal. I went through hell. A lot of people did. But I feel stronger in the end. I know it sounds crazy, but I’m glad I went though it. I learned a lot about myself."Kudos to coach Pia Sundhage for realizing she had no team without a keeper of Solo's ability. She quelled the situation, cleaned up Ryan's mess and elevated the U.S. women to the top of the heap again.
"I asked two questions: 'Do you want to win? Yes. Do you need goalkeepers to win? Yes,'We had to move on, and this day you could see that we did it."Carli Lloyd netted the game-winner 6 minutes into overtime.