The USA accomplished what it set out to do, and that's win its group at the Olympic women's soccer competition and move into the quarterfinals, where it will face Sweden on Friday.
will be a rematch of their meeting at the 2015 Women's World Cup -- the only match the USA didn't win -- against its former coach, Pia Sundhage
The USA will be coming off a
disappointing performance against Colombia's unfancied Cafeteras, who played the game of their lives and earned a 2-2 draw. 1. Solo is unfazed by howlers, but Brazilian media
Since she took over as the USA's starting keeper following her famous omission from the 2007 Women's World Cup semifinal against Brazil that the USA lost, 4-0, and cost Greg
his job, Hope Solo
has led the USA to Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012, the Women's World Cup championship in 2015 and second place at the Women's World Cup in 2011 when the USA
lost to Japan in a shootout in the final.
That kind of success has helped keep her on the national team despite off-the-field incidents that included her arrest on domestic violence
charges in 2014 and her suspension in early 2015 following the DUI arrest of her husband after they used a team van at training camp. Sixteen years after debuting for the USA, Solo was having a career
year in 2016 -- 13 shutouts in 15 games, just four goals allowed and a goal-against average of 0.28, the lowest in any year during which she played 10 or more games -- until Tuesday.
USA-Colombia: U.S. Player
Twice, Catalina Usme
beat Solo on free kicks, the first two goals Colombia has ever scored against the USA, and Solo should have stopped both goals. Usme's first free
kick slipped through Solo's hands and into the goal in the 26th minute. The USA recovered to take a 2-1 lead on goals by Crystal Dunn
and Mallory Pugh
, the first Olympic goals for both
teams, but Usme earned Colombia its first point in two Olympics when she fired a free kick from a sharp angle that Solo couldn't handle in the 90th minute.
Brazilian media reveled in the
misery of the U.S. keeper whose Zika comments made her enemy No. 1 in Brazil, pointing out
her "frangos" or howlers. Solo's immediate reaction?
“I’ll choose to have short-term memory," she said in her NBC post-game interview.
2. Ellis faces lineup decisions for quarterfinals.
Besides Solo, only four
players who started the opening game against New Zealand started on Tuesday against Colombia: co-captains Becky Sauerbrunn
and Carli Lloyd
, Kelley O'Hara
and Morgan Brian
The goal was to rotate as many players as possible and get as many players rest ahead of the grueling knockout stage that starts on Friday when the USA faces Sweden in the midday heat in Brasilia.
Coach Jill Ellis
gave Megan Rapinoe
her first action since suffering a knee injury in December. The surprise was that Ellis started Rapinoe, who played just 32 minutes before
being substituted. It was Rapinoe's foul that led to the free kick Usme converted for the opening goal.
Rio Olympics: Women's Soccer, Day 3
It's hard to imagine that Ellis will start Rapinoe, but she'll need
, who was rested to Tuesday, to provide the playmaking that has otherwise been lacking throughout the tournament. Pugh, who had sat out the France game with an ankle injury, came on
for Rapinoe and did very well to move through the Colombian penalty area and score what looked to be the winning goal until Solo's second blunder.
Ellis will have a couple of tough
choices, deciding between Pugh and Dunn on the wing opposite Heath and between Lindsey Horan
and Allie Long
in central midfield with Brian.
The USA will also want Julie
back in the lineup. Johnston, who dominates in the air, again sat out after suffering a groin injury. 3. Usme's achievement will serve as inspiration.
Colombia will have been disappointed not to duplicate its feat of a year ago when it reached the knockout phase at the Women's World Cup. It stunned France, 2-0, for its first and only victory in the
Women's World Cup or Olympics but dug itself a hole at this year's Olympics when it lost to the Bleues in a rematch, 4-0.
The Cafeteras had little chance of advancing to the
quarterfinals, but Coach Felipe Taborda
was sandbagging on Monday when he downplayed their chances against the USA, saying Usme had injured her knee and Lady Andrade
were suffering from "exhaustion." All three players started on Tuesday. Usme not only scored twice on free kicks but put a third off the crossbar.
registered barely a blip back in Colombia, still celebrating Oscar Figueroa
's gold medal in weight-lifting, just the second in Colombia's Olympic history, but it will serve an inspiration for
young female players in a country where women's soccer suffers from indifference.