Hope Solo extended her U.S. Women’s National Team record to 83 shutouts during Sunday’s 3-0 friendly victory over Ireland—but the most exciting moment of the match for No. 1 didn’t come during the 90 minutes of game time.
The entire USWNT received a mother’s day surprise, as FOX Sports arranged for all the team’s mothers to be flow in for team dinner on Saturday. Hope was greeted by her mother and grandmother, and they all walked hand-in-hand onto the pitch for the pregame National Anthem.
The moment turned the great win into an overall spectacular day for Hope and her teammates.
“It was awesome,” Hope said of the surprise visit. “Our entire team was shocked and I can’t believe they kept it secret. Twenty-two women kept it secret, including our coaching staff, our support staff, my mom, my grandma, everybody kept it secret. So when they walked in everybody was in complete shock and had some tears in our eyes.”
While two of the most important women in Hope’s life were among the sellout crowd of 18,000 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, the American side dominated. The Irish women didn’t log a single shot, much less one on the frame protected by Hope.
The USWNT controlled possession throughout, but was held scoreless early. That is, until a flurry of scoring from veteran star Abby Wambach.
The first goal was set up by a Megan Rapinoe corner kick, which was collected by Christen Press and crossed to Wambach, who knocked it through to put the U.S. up 1-0. Minutes later, Wambach did it again, heading home a well-placed cross from Carli Lloyd to send the Americans into the half with a 2-0 lead.
Not long after the break, one of Team USA’s promising youngsters got on the board. Off a Lauren Holiday corner kick in the 54th minute, 23-year-old Julie Johnston darted in front of her defender and tapped home goal No. 3 in midair, giving the squad more than enough insurance in the blowout.
While the game was a bit boring for Hope in the net, she said afterward that she was able to work on communication with the defenders on the back end—which could prove invaluable during next month’s FIFA World Cup in Canada.
“I could never explain what it’s like to be inside a goalkeeper’s mind and what these games really are about. But it is my job and it is the life of a goalkeeper and I’m ready for the World Cup. I’ve been training my butt off this week so it would have been nice to get a little bit of action, actually not just action for myself, but really have our defense tested. We did the little things right even though they weren’t really pressing us so, you’ll still hold each other accountable even though they’re not really attacking us.”
The win marked a brilliant start for the USWNT’s send-off series ahead of July’s World Cup. The fans in San Jose were thrilled to see their squad in preparation for this summer’s featured presentation, and Hope and her teammates were overwhelmed by the support.
Hope and Co. stayed afterward to meet with and sign autographs for San Jose fans.
— Rachel Hutchinson ★♛ (@RachelHutch_) May 10, 2015
— alegra🌻 (@alegssraa) May 11, 2015
Hope and the USWNT will be back in action at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. on May 17 for a friendly with Mexico.
The game is set for a 6 p.m. PT start and will air on FOX Sports 1.