Women's World Cup: Hope Solo calls out USWNT for getting 'lucky' vs. Spain

Josh Schrock
NBC Sports BayArea
The former USWNT goalie continues her scorched Earth run.
The former USWNT goalie continues her scorched Earth run.

Women's World Cup: Hope Solo calls out USWNT for getting 'lucky' vs. Spain originally appeared on nbcsportsbayarea.com

The United States Women's National Team got by Spain in the Round of 16 at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, but it wasn't pretty.

And Hope Solo noticed.

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The USWNT defeated Spain 2-1 on the back of two Megan Rapinoe penalty kicks, one of which was the result of a questionable call.

While Team USA still is the favorite to take home the title, their former goalie wasn't impressed with their effort against Spain. In a column for The Guardian, Solo took the USWNT to task for their lackluster performance.

"The United States got lucky against Spain," Solo writes. "They didn't score from open play and their second penalty was very soft – if it was a penalty at all. I watched the replay in the broadcasting booth over and over again, and none of us could see if Rose Lavelle was touched or not."

Solo then criticized star striker and former teammate Alex Morgan for not taking the second penalty kick for Team USA.

"Megan Rapinoe did very well to convert her penalties under pressure but I didn't understand why Alex Morgan was about to take the second penalty and then walked away from it after the VAR delay," Solo writes. "That showed she was off her game. Spain put her on the floor a few times early in the match and she didn't overcome that. For her to be considered one of the best forwards she needs to step up and put that penalty away when she had the opportunity. Alex needs to score when it matters."

On Friday, the USWNT will face France in the most anticipated bout of the tournament. France has shown well so far as the host country and has the talent to make the U.S. look foolish if Jill Ellis' squad isn't at its best.

Solo, who has criticized Ellis in the past, believes the coach made an "arrogant" decision against Spain when she sat midfielder Lindsey Horan.

That can't happen against France. 

"Without a doubt, Lindsey Horan needs to return to midfield. She can control the tempo of the game and helps keep possession. It seems Jill Ellis left Lindsey out against Spain to protect her from getting another yellow card and missing the quarter-final, but to me that was a little arrogant. Putting Lindsey on in the 89th minute seemed a little bizarre: she is either being protected or she isn't."

Harsh, but possibly fair.

[RELATED: Where USWNT stands among quarterfinalists]

The USWNT will need to be at their best Friday. They didn't show anything close to their A-game against Spain, and if that continues, they will go home much sooner than expected.

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