Teammates of Hope Solo are distancing themselves from controversial comments the goalkeeper made when she called Sweden “cowards” after the United States lost in the Olympics quarterfinal.
Midfielder Megan Rapinoe became the latest American player to express disappointment in Solo’s remarks on Thursday when she said, “We’ve been on the winning side quite a bit, and when we find ourselves on the other side, we need to handle that graciously.”
“That’s not our team,” she told NBC. “That’s not what this team has always been. That’s not what this team will be in the future.”
Rapinoe’s comments come the day after striker Alex Morgan disagreed with Solo’s assessment that Sweden played like “a bunch of cowards.” On Wednesday, she told USA Today she thought Sweden’s game plan, bunkering defensively, was smart.
“They played their cards right,” Morgan said. “They did the exact same thing with Brazil. They’re in the final, so you can’t really doubt their strategy now.”
When asked about Solo’s comments, she added: “I saw her comments but I feel like those are opinions I don’t share.”
After the U.S. lost to Sweden in the Olympics quarterfinal last week, Solo was critical of Sweden’s style, which saw them play in a very defensive 4-5-1 formation and only attempt to score on quick counterattacks.
“I’m very proud of this team, but I also think we played a bunch of cowards,” she said after the match. “The best team did not win today.”
She added: “I don’t think they’re going to make it very far in the tournament. I think it was very cowardly.”
Sweden is into Friday’s gold medal match against Germany after using the same tactics against Brazil in the semifinal, again eking by in a penalty kick shootout.
U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati called Solo’s comments “highly inappropriate” and her comments have also not made her a popular figure in Sweden:
Dagens förstasida: Nope, Solo! pic.twitter.com/jKgwioaZob
— Sportbladet (@sportbladet) August 13, 2016
Some fans and media outlets have been quick to assign Solo’s comments to the entire American team, but as more USWNT players are asked about it, it looks like Solo was alone in her stance.
Solo being the subject of controversy due to her outspokenness is hardly anything new — and that’s just in this Olympics alone. She started the tournament facing the ire of Brazilians fans after a series of tweets she shared about the Zika virus and fans took to chanting “Zika!” every time she kicked the ball.