Hope Solo: This is one of my favorite places to play
Commerce City, Colo. - There's a big difference from the last time the U.S. Women's National Team played at Dick's Sporting Goods Park compared to their return on Wednesday when they'll face Australia. Make that, two differences.
On July 13, 2008, the U.S. WNT defeated Brazil 1-0 in front of over 15,000 fans that withstood sweltering conditions which saw the temperature on the field hit 100 degrees. That match at Dick's Sporting Goods Park was the first of two 'Send-Off' games ahead of the Beijing Olympics, where the women would eventually win the gold medal.
This time around, the ladies return as gold medal winners after having claimed their third straight gold at the 2012 London Games. The match is the third of the Fan Tribute Tour and is set to kickoff at 8 pm MT in front of a standing-room only crowd, when the temperature is expected to be in low 70s. (Limited number of tickets available).
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"This is a great atmosphere," goalkeeper Hope Solo told ColoradoRapids.com Tuesday after the women's open training session. "It's a beautiful stadium. It's one of my favorite places to play. You feel the energy."
Solo is one of 10 players on the U.S. WNT roster for the Australia match that played against Brazil four years ago. But she says the mentality of the team is different this time around, which sets up for an entertaining games for the fans.
"Before the Olympics we had a lot to prove," Solo recalled. "We were working on our defense, trying to close the gaps. We were trying to peak. And now we just want to bring the fun to the game, bring the energy into the game, and just enjoy it."
Solo, along with captain Christie Rampone, and defender Kelly O'Hara were the only players to be on the field for all 570 minutes in the 2012 Olympics. With the gold medal in hand, Solo says the fans should be in for a treat now that the pressure is off.
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"I think it was a little bit more stressful prior to the Olympics when we were were here in Denver," she said. "And now we're going to show the fans that we're here to have fun."
Solo, Rampone, Heather Mitts, Rachel Buehler, Shannon Boxx, Heather O'Reilly, Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath, Abby Wambach, and Amy Rodriguez are of part the current team that also played Brazil here in 2008. Rodriguez scored the game-winner off a pass from Wambach.