Pia Sundhage should be proud. Her squad made history today at legendary Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United. This match marked the first time that an international women's soccer game was played at the Theatre of Dreams, with 29,000+ in attendance to watch the historic event. To top that, the USWNT defeated Korea, completing their clean sweep of Group G. All they needed was a draw to secure first place, but Coach Sundhage's win or go home coaching style helped lead her squad to a perfect run in the Group Stages.
Usually, at least as of late, a USWNT match is led by the offense, with Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan the big guns up top. Today saw the defense lead the way to victory, and what a pleasure they were to watch. Who knows if they were motivated by the controversial twitter battle keeper Hope Solo started last week with former national team star Brandi Chastain, but the D played they best they have since the London games started last Wednesday. It wasn't as if Korea was shooting on net a lot or giving the defense anything to worry about, but they just didn't give the opposition any opportunity to get anything started.
The best Korea ever looked during the run of play was in the final ten minutes of the game when the USWNT started to show signs of fatigue, but even then, it didn't matter. Nothing was getting through the defense today, giving the offense a well deserved break. The one goal? Who other than Abby Wambach, who put the ball in the back of the net off a pass from who? You guessed it, Alex Morgan.
The big story coming out of this game is Hope Solo and for two entirely different reasons. The first being that she now has a modest 256 minute shutout streak going, stemming back from the USWNT's four goal comeback win against France. The second? her ongoing critical tweets about Brandi Chastain's broadcasting abilities. While Chastain has taken the high road, Solo has stuck by her comments. So far, the twitter attacks haven't gotten her in any trouble, and as long as she continues to play strong in net, she probably won't hear anything about it until after the games are over.
Next up on the USWNT's quest for gold are the quarter-finals. Their opponent is still up in the air, but the match will take place on Friday August 3rd at 9:30 a.m ET. Stay tuned on twitter @brotherlygame for updates on who the USWNT will play in the quarters.