Hope Solo: Team USA Keeper Still the Best Despite Sinclair's Hat Trick

Matt HinesCorrespondent IAugust 6, 2012

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Hope Solo of USA looks on during the national anthem during the Women's Football first round Group G match between the United States and DPR Korea on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Old Trafford on July 31, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Stanley Chou/Getty Images)
Stanley Chou/Getty Images

It was a nail-biter of epic proportions Monday, but despite a valiant three-goal effort by world-renown striker Sinclair of a dark horse Canadian squad, Hope Solo and Team USA managed to edge their North American rivals in a gritty 4-3 overtime victory.

And while the superstar American keeper Solo looked vulnerable at Old Trafford on Monday allowing three scores, that shouldn’t affect her status as the greatest female goalie on the planet. She had allowed just one score through the entire tournament before her bout with the Canadians and had not allowed a goal for 360 straight minutes of play before Sinclair squeaked her first by at the 27 minute mark.

It takes the best to beat the best, and Sinclair was absolutely torrid against Team USA, slicing and dicing through one of the best backfields in the tournament and making U.S. captain Christie Rampone look forlorn in the box. Sinclair’s first goal came on an almost indefensible attempt from about eight yards out, and the other two on-headers finished at near impossible angles opposite Solo.

Sinclair commandeers just as much respect on the pitch as Solo in her own rite, especially in these Olympic games. She’s leading all women in scoring in London with six goals and is the most decorated footballer in Canadian history. She’s been Canada’s Soccer Player of the Year concurrently since 2005 and has been nominated for the FIFA world player of the year five times (2005-2008, 2010).

It shouldn’t hurt Solo’s reputation too much that Sinclair’s mercurial play gave her the upper hand Monday. Sinclair had been tearing up everyone, and in a pivotal match on the biggest of stages against world superpower Team USA, the superstar played at the top of her game. Solo is still the most able-bodied keeper in the world, with the size, athleticism, instinct and footwork to play both ends of the cage with superiority.

So while Solo might want to forget about the semi-final match, she should be more than ready to bounce back against a very talented Team Japan, who beat the Americans in the World Cup final last year. Solo was named best keeper and awarded the Bronze Ball for a reason in 2011. She should be more than eager to get another shot at beating Japan in the gold-medal final on Thursday at the famed Wembley Stadium.