If I had to pick a Player of the Tournament for the U.S. at the World Cup, I'd have to go with the tiny sparkplug in midfield, Lori Chalupny. Besides scoring the winning goal against Nigeria, she was a contributer all during the competition, pesky on defending and able to deliver decent passes for opportunities on offense.
Today I called her for an interview and we talked about the World Cup. Most of that is going into a preview piece I'm writing for espn.com tonight.
One thing Chalupny said surprised me a little.
Before the Norway game, this is the quote that AP had from Lori Chalupny.
"That stuff in the media, I don't think it really filters into the team," Chalupny said. "We've known Hope for years and years and I just think she got caught up in the heat of the moment. It's nothing that impacts our team. She's a competitive person and wants to play.
Unfortunately, I didn't have the exact quote in front of me when we talked (we'd been playing phone tag for a little while) and I just referred to the quote in general terms. "You had a quote come out at the World Cup about how what Hope said wasn't a big deal - or that it didn't really affect the team."
Anyway, Lori said that she thought she had been misunderstood, that in fact, what Hope said was a big deal, and that it was something that the entire team decided needed to be handled together, internally and behind closed doors.
Quote added for clarity. Here's what Lori said.
"I think the quote that you're referring to was when I was saying that Greg's decision to play Briana wasn't as big a deal to the team as what it was made out to be. As far as Hope's comments, I think they were actually a big deal. We're dealing with that within our team and trying to get over that."
The closed-door comment came up later, in response to a different Solo-related question.