Hope Solo made one eye-popping save after another, leading the Beat to a win, a tie and this week’s Goal.com top WPS player.
Aug 2, 2010 2:12:00 PM
Women’s Professional Soccer’s expansion club is firing on all cylinders. If you’ve been hibernating for the past month, you’d have thought for sure that statement is in reference to the Philadelphia Independence. Not this time.
While Philadelphia is playing great soccer, it’s the Atlanta Beat making headway in WPS. The Kennesaw, Ga.-based club is riding a four-game unbeaten streak, going 3-0-1 during that span.
What once seemed to be a hopeless season for the first-year club has turned into a promising second-half run that could place them in a playoff spot come season’s end. Much of that credit can be given to its keeper, the United States’ national team starting goalie, Hope Solo.
During the streak, Solo has notched three shutouts. In the first two games of the Beat’s current streak, Solo helped the Beat claim 1-0 wins – on July 18 at Sky Blue FC and July 21 vs. Chicago Red Stars.
And during week 16 of WPS regular season action, Solo guided the Beat to a win over the Washington Freedom on July 28, 3-2, and a scoreless draw against the league’s highest-scoring offense, FC Gold Pride, on Sunday.
In the win, Solo stopped five shots, giving the Beat its third straight win in the process. But the real achievement of the week was her outing against the first-place Gold Pride.
Gold Pride fired 16 shots at Solo, who was aided by the woodwork behind her on three occasions. However, those three clangs aside, Solo made three incredible diving stops – Kelley O’Hara the victim of two of those. In total, Solo was able to block all six shots on frame.
If not for Solo, Atlanta could have fallen victim to another embarrassing 4-0 (or more) defeat, which they did to the Pride on July 3. She made sure there was no repeat performance.
With her 11 saves, Solo is this week’s Goal.com WPS Player of the Week. And she also helped the Beat pull to a sixth-place tie with the Freedom, too. Other players receiving consideration were Amy Rodriguez (two goals for Philadelphia in its 3-0 win over Chicago on Wednesday) and Monica Ocampo (two goals for the Beat in its come-from-behind win over Washington on Wednesday).