Mark down another win on the Victory Tour for Hope Solo and the National Team.
Thursday night at Detroit’s Ford Field, the U.S. Women routed Haiti, 5-0, giving Hope and Ashlyn Harris a shared exhibition shutout.
Nearly 35,000 fans were in attendance in the Motor City for Hope’s 180th cap, a game the U.S. was originally scheduled to play against a tough Australian squad. However, the Matildas cancelled their U.S. tour due to a labor dispute. Haiti stepped in on short notice and the game went off without a hitch.
Afterward, USWNT coach Jill Ellis applauded the fan support for The Stars and Stripes.
“This is a team that I think America loves,” said USWNT coach Jill Ellis. “I think everybody invested in the game, from the youth teams to the professional teams to the college teams, everybody invested in this game wants to see it do well and wants to see it continue to grow. For me personally? It is very rewarding to have the game being so showcased as it is.”
As Ellis continued her efforts to get every player on the roster involved, Hope got the start in goal and guarded the U.S. net for the first 45 minutes before she was replaced by Harris after the half. Thanks to a shut down performance by the USWNT defense, which successfully repelled the Haitians the entire match, the duo was relatively untested, as Haiti managed just one shot on net all night. Meanwhile, the American offense tallied an astounding 36 shots, and scored five times, including another hat trick from World Cup hero Carli Lloyd.
Lloyd kicked off the scoring for the Americans in the sixth minute on a play where U.S. midfielder Crystal Dunn, who was recently added to the Victory Tour squad, initially took the ball down the right side of the field. Dunn beat one defender at the end line and crossed the ball into the box, where Lloyd was able to meet the cross with a tremendous header into the back of the net for a 1-0 advantage. The Americans were constantly on the attack but had trouble at times finishing around the net, leaving Ellis wanting just a bit more from her team.
“At times, I thought the game was choppy,” Ellis said. “We weren’t as fluid as we have been.”
Midfielder Christen Press broke through for the second American goal, hitting a cross from Dunn to the near post in the 33rd minute to make it 2-nil. Press later earned a penalty kick in the 37th minute and Lloyd took shot, which she buried in the right corner to give the Americans a 3-0 halftime lead. Lloyd finished off her hat trick in the 69th minute on a ball that was sent far post from the right flank by midfielder Lauren Holiday. Lloyd was able to send her header back across the goal, just slightly under the crossbar for the fourth American tally.
The scoring was capped by Dunn, the winner of this year’s National Women’s Soccer League Golden Boot award. Dunn was the last player left off the 2015 USWNT roster for the World Cup in Canada, and watched the team earn the third star on their jersey, however her play in the NWSL showed that she was motivated and ready to make a name for herself on the international stage, so the U.S. Women gave her a call up before this latest leg of the Victory Tour and she made the decision pay dividends on Thursday night. At the end of a strong overall game, Dunn took a cross from midfielder Heather O’Reilly and headed it into the back of the net for the fifth and final goal just before the final whistle.
“Everyone asked me what it was like when I didn’t make the team, but I think it ended up being the best thing for me,” Dunn said. “I was able to take my game back to the basics and I have a lot more confidence in myself than I did four months ago. The NWSL gave me a huge platform to grow as a player this summer and let me be a lot more aggressive.”
With the shutout victory at Ford Field, Hope and her USWNT teammates moved to 16-0-1 indoors, and 5-0-0 all time against Haiti. In those five contests, No. 1 has not conceded a single goal.
The USWNT will face Haiti again on Sunday, Sept. 20 at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. at 1:30 p.m. CT., it’s the last Victory Tour game of the month, and Hope’s last game before the NWSL Championship Match in Portland Oct. 1, when her Seattle Reign take on FC Kansas City.
Depending on the result of that match, Hope might have something more to celebrate when Victory Tour picks back up a few weeks later in her hometown of Seattle for a game at CenturyLink Field on Oct. 21 against Brazil at 7 p.m. PT.
- WNT Defeats Haiti 5-0 at Ford Field (U.S. Soccer.com, Sept. 17, 2015)
- USWNT Routs Haiti Behind Carli Lloyd Hat Trick (Associated Press, Sept. 17, 2015)
- US women clobber Haiti 5-0 despite sloppy finishing (The Guardian, Sept. 17, 2015)
- USWNT match a big win for fans at Ford Field (Detroit Free Press, Sept. 17, 2015)