Chalupny hopes outspoken Solo has learned lesson

October 11, 2007

ST. LOUIS -- Now that Hope Solo is back on the U.S. roster for a season-ending three-game exhibition series with Mexico, one of her teammates hopes she's learned a lesson.

Midfielder Lori Chalupny gave a nervous laugh when the goalie flap finally came up during an interview Thursday, saying, "I knew you had to go there." Chalupny said there was no excuse for Solo's criticism of coach Greg Ryan after Brianna Scurry got the start in goal instead and the top-rated Americans lost 4-0 to Brazil in the semifinals.

"I know she was upset the night before, two nights before, when she found out she wasn't going to be starting," Chalupny said. "She was definitely upset.

"But I think it's those times of adversity that I think show people's character and she just didn't, I think, show her best side that day."

Solo had allowed only two goals in four World Cup games and had a shutout streak of nearly 300 minutes before Ryan turned to Scurry, who had beaten Brazil two straight times and was in goal in 1999 when the American won their last World Cup.

The 25-year-old Solo said then that that it was "the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that."

"There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves," Solo said after the game. "You have to live in the present. And you can't live by big names. You can't live in the past."

Chalupny realizes male athletes pop off all the time. She prefers unity, especially in team sports, and attaches added importance to the Mexico exhibitions as a statement that the United States can move past this.

"We kind of want to set the precedent that this isn't going to be acceptable for this team, regardless of whether it happens on other teams or not," Chalupny said. "I hope we get over it as soon as we can, and I'm looking forward to this game."

Chalupny had no advance notice that Solo, who was tossed off the team before the Brazil loss, would be one of three goalies on the roster for the series that starts Saturday night in St. Louis. She said she hadn't seen Solo since the Brazil loss.

Scurry and Nicole Barnhart are the other two goalies on the roster for the series.

"We really kind of just went our separate ways after the World Cup," Chalupny said. "I don't know what's in store, I don't know what's going to happen."

She just wants the team to finish on a high note in its final eight-day flurry of activity. Other games are set for Portland on Oct. 17 and Albuquerque, N.M., on Oct. 20.

A practice session Friday will be the team's first time together since the World Cup.

"I think it's a chance to play for our fans, get back to the States and say thanks to the people who supported us while we were over in China," Chalupny said. "Hopefully we'll play some good soccer and let them enjoy it."

The 23-year-old Chalupny is from suburban St. Louis and gives the national team a local angle for the Mexico opener, its first appearance in the city since 1996. The World Cup was her first time on the world stage and there are no regrets.

In fact, her high point was the 4-1 victory over Norway for third place.

"It was just the way the team responded and we really came together and had so much fun that last game," Chalupny said. "After that game, just kind of huddling with the team and being able to look those guys in the eyes, it was just a good feeling."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press