Soccer

Solo: Heath, Lloyd and Press are the USWNT’s best attacking combination

The former U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper joined Goal on All of US: The U.S. Women’s Soccer Show to preview the quarter-finals of the Olympics

The U.S. women’s national team’s (USWNT) best front three combination is Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath and Christen Press, says former World Cup-winning goalkeeper Hope Solo.

Speaking on All of US: The U.S. Women’s Soccer Show by Goal, Solo was discussing the selection dilemma that head coach Vlatko Andonovski faces going into the quarter-finals of the Olympic Games, where the United States will take on the Netherlands.

She also spoke about the goalless draw with Australia that rounded off the team’s group stage, the performance of the U.S. so far and whether they have what it takes to win the gold medal.

What has Solo said?

Looking ahead to Friday’s game against the Netherlands, analysing what team Andonovski could pick, Solo was asked about the dilemma the coach has between picking either Heath or Megan Rapinoe on the wing.

“You can pick so many different players for a starting line-up, but you have to really look at who plays best together,” she told Goal.

“I think time and time again, there’s been a combination up front that has played better together than other combinations. For me, that would be Tobin, Carli Lloyd and Christen Press on the right.

“That’s the best attacking combination. They play really well together and to bring Alex [Morgan] and Megan Rapinoe on subs is scary for teams. For me, that truly is the best combination.”

There is also an interesting selection to be made in defence, between Tierna Davidson and Abby Dahlkemper, as well as in the midfield, with one of Sam Mewis or Lindsey Horan likely to miss out in the starting line-up for the quarter-final.

“In the back, I think you stick with with Davidson,” Solo added. “I think she played great [vs Australia]. There weren’t as many gaps and spaces in the defence. I have no idea what Vlatko is going to do there. That’s a huge decision for him, especially since the defence has [given] up quite a [few] mistakes, and marking in the box issues.

“In terms of the midfield, I’m 100% all in for [Rose] Lavelle and [Julie] Ertz. Then, Horan, for me, is who I would stick with because of her football IQ.

“Sam, she can run up and down the field. She can win those air balls, which is really important, especially in a physical battle, which the quarter-final will be.

“For me Lindsey Horan, she’s not afraid of that physical play either but her soccer IQ is probably one of the best that I’ve seen, so I would want her in the midfield.”

‘I believe the USWNT will still win gold’

Speaking on the preview show of All of US ahead of the Games, Solo highlighted that there was no reason why the U.S. should lose in Japan.

However, after seeing their 44-game unbeaten streak snapped by Sweden in the first game in a humiliating 3-0 defeat, there has been a reassessment of whether they really are the favourites to win the gold medal.

Asked if her view on who the front-runner is has changed, Solo said: “I believe [the USWNT] are the favorite to win this tournament.

“I know that Sweden put on the best performance of any team thus far, but as I’ve said, if they play up to their ability, if one player steps up who can carry the game – there are a lot of stars on this American side, so many different players can step up – I truly believe that they’re still gonna win gold.”

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