RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- On the field they play as one nation and one team, but after United States women's soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo called a recent Olympic opponent "cowards," her teammates have distanced themselves.
Following the USWNT's loss to Sweden on Aug. 12 in a Summer Games quarterfinal, Solo told reporters that the Sweden played like "a bunch of cowards." Team USA had lost in penalty kicks in the match, despite Solo's extra-time efforts between the posts.
But her teammates don't agree with her comments. Instead, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe are commending Sweden for successfully using its strategy to reach the Rio de Janeiro final against Germany.
"They played their cards right," Morgan told USA TODAY's Nicole Auerbach. "They did the exact same thing with Brazil. They're in the final, so you can't really doubt their strategy now."
"I saw [Solo's] comments but I feel like those are opinions I don't share," Morgan told Auerbach.
"I feel like everything is fair game when you play a team sport," Morgan said. "You have to support each other. Sometimes you have to cover for each other. That's just part of playing a team sport."
Former USWNT coach Pia Sundhage coaches Sweden. Sundhage served as head coach for the U.S. from 2008 to 2012.
"[I'm] really disappointed to be honest," Rapinoe told NBC. "That's not our team. That's not what this team has always been. That's not what this team will be in the future. It's frustrating sometimes as an athlete. You're thrust into the spotlight and I think this team has always done a really amazing job of understanding that we have this incredible platform. Let's do something good with it. Let's inspire. Let's be [expletive]. Let's be fierce. Let's be competitive."
"But we're gracious and we are humble. We play the game a certain way. Whether we win or lose. We've been on the winning side quite and bit and when we find ourselves on the other side, we need to handle that graciously. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case."
Swedish newspaper Sportbladet trolled Solo after the match on its cover by profiling Solo's goalkeeper glove and the caption: "1996: gold, 2000: silver, 2004: gold, 2008: gold, 2012: gold, 2016: Nope, Solo!"
Dagens förstasida: Nope, Solo! pic.twitter.com/jKgwioaZob— Sportbladet (@sportbladet) August 13, 2016
The Summer Games loss was the USWNT's first ever before the semifinal round of a major tournament.