Earthquakes

Hope Solo takes indefinite leave from Seattle Reign

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Hope Solo takes indefinite leave from Seattle Reign

Hope Solo has taken an indefinite leave from the Seattle Reign of the National Women's Soccer League, less than a week after being suspended for six months by the U.S. national team for disparaging remarks about Sweden.

The move was announced Saturday by the Reign, saying that the Olympic goaltender has been granted personal leave. The team did not say how long Solo would be away.

It's been a rough time for the record-breaking goalkeeper. On Wednesday, she was suspended after calling the Swedes "cowards" for their defensive style of play after the U.S. was ousted by Sweden in the quarterfinals of the Rio Games.

Solo was previously suspended for 30 days early in 2015 for her conduct, and won't be eligible for selection to the national team until February.

The Reign announced Solo's leave hours before Saturday's match against the Portland Thorns, after previously indicating that she and U.S. teammate Megan Rapinoe would be available to play. Seattle signed goalkeeper Andi Tostanoski to replace Solo.

The three-time defending champion U.S. women were handed their earliest-ever exit from the Olympics earlier this month when Sweden advanced 4-3 on penalty kicks following a 1-1 draw on Aug. 12.

Sweden's coach, Pia Sundhage, who led the U.S. team to gold medals in Beijing and London, replied to Solo's postgame comment by stating: "It's OK to be a coward if you win." Sweden went on to play in the gold-medal match against Germany.

Solo had caused a stir in Brazil even before the comment about Sweden because of social media posts about the Zika virus. Brazilian fans booed her mercilessly and shouted "Zika!" every time she touched the ball.

The 35-year-old has long been a lightning rod for controversy.

She still faces a possible trial on misdemeanor domestic violence charges after a 2014 incident at her sister's home, when she was accused of being intoxicated and assaulting her sister and 17-year-old nephew. Solo said she was a victim in the altercation. Earlier this year, an appeals court in Washington state rejected Solo's request to avoid trial.

In early 2015 while Solo was at a team training camp in Southern California, her husband Jerramy Stevens was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in a U.S. Soccer team van. Solo was with him at the time.

The former Seattle Seahawks tight end later pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and four years on probation. Solo was suspended by U.S. Soccer for 30 days.

U.S. Soccer indicated in its statement announcing her suspension on Wednesday that it was a culmination of events.

At the same time, Solo has been stellar on the field.

She became the first goalkeeper with 100 international shutouts last month when the United States defeated South Africa 1-0 at Soldier Field in Chicago. It also was her 150th career win.

During the Rio Games she made her 200th appearance in goal for the United States, an international record.

Solo won her second straight Golden Glove Award for the best goalkeeper at the Women's World Cup a year ago. Over the course of the tournament in Canada, she had five shutouts and allowed only three goals in seven games.

The U.S. won the World Cup for its third title in soccer's premier event.

She has also vocally advocated for women's rights. Solo was among the U.S. players who filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for wage discrimination, saying the men's national team players have been paid much more than many on the women's team.

Solo issued a statement on her social media following her suspension.

"I could not be the player I am without being the person I am, even when I haven't made the best choices or said the right things," she said. "My entire career, I have only wanted the best for this team, for the players and the women's game, and I will continue to pursue these causes with the same unrelenting passion with which I play the game."

Earthquakes secure spot in playoffs with clutch goal in stoppage time

Earthquakes secure spot in playoffs with clutch goal in stoppage time

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Marco Urena scored in the third minute of stoppage time and the San Jose Earthquakes secured a playoff spot with a 3-2 victory over Minnesota United on Sunday in their regular-season finale.

San Jose (13-14-7) needed a win for the final spot in the Western Conference after FC Dallas' 5-1 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy. It's an unexpected run for the Earthquakes, who fired coach Dominic Kinnear midway through the season.

In the build-up to the winner, San Jose goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell sent a long ball that was chested by Victor Bernardez and headed to Quincy Amarikwa inside the 18-yard box. Minnesota goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth pushed Amarikwa's shot wide but San Jose star Chris Wondolowski chased it down for a feed to an open Urena in front of goal.

The Earthquakes have won seven of their last nine home games — with every win coming by one goal.

Wondolowski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead in the 55th with an easy redirection of Danny Hoesen cross at the back post.

Minnesota (10-18-6), which has lost nine of its last 12 road games, tied it at 2 in the 81st on Francisco Calvo's header off the crossbar.

Shocker: US Men's National Team eliminated from World Cup contention

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Shocker: US Men's National Team eliminated from World Cup contention

COUVA, Trinidad — Twenty-eight years after one of the United States' most important victories came in stunning fashion at Trinidad to end a four-decade World Cup absence, the Americans' chances for the 2018 tournament in Russia ended on this island nation off the coast of Venezuela.

The U.S. was eliminated from World Cup contention Tuesday night, a shocking 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago ending a run of seven straight American appearances at soccer's showcase.

The Soca Warriors scored a pair of first-half goals, getting one off U.S. defender Omar Gonzalez, and the United States made too many other mistakes to recover. The Americans are out of the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

"We let down an entire nation today," Gonzalez said.

Shocked American players slumped on the bench, and Matt Besler sat on the field after the final whistle as Panama's game ended and then Costa Rica's. At the end, dejected U.S. players filed into their locker rooms with blank looks.

"We foolishly brought Trinidad into the game with the own goal," coach Bruce Arena said. "That was a big goal for Trinidad psychologically. That got them motivated."

The U.S. entered its final qualifier with a berth uncertain for the first time since 1989. Home losses to Mexico last November and Costa Rica left the Americans little margin for error.

The 28th-ranked Americans needed merely a tie against 99th-ranked Trinidad, which lost its sixth straight qualifier last week. But the defeat — coupled with Honduras' come-from-behind 3-2 win over Mexico and Panama's 2-1 victory over Costa Rica on Ramon Torres' 88th-minute goal — dropped the Americans from third place into fifth in the six-nation final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region.

Mexico and Costa Rica already had clinched berths, and Panama claimed the third and final automatic spot and will go the World Cup for the first time. Honduras will meet Australia in a two-game playoff next month for another spot at next year's 32-nation tournament.

Missing the World Cup is a devastating blow to the U.S. Soccer Federation, which has steadily built the sport in the last quarter-century with the help of sponsors and television partners. It also is a trauma for Fox, which broadcasts the next three World Cups after taking the U.S. rights from ESPN. The USSF hopes to co-host the 2026 tournament with Mexico and Canada, and Morocco is the only other bidder.

After an 0-2 start in the hexagonal last fall under Jurgen Klinsmann, the USSF replaced him last November with Arena, the American coach from 1998-2006. The team revived with home wins over Honduras and Trinidad last spring and draws at Panama and Mexico. But the 2-0 defeat to Costa Rica in New Jersey at the start of Labor Day weekend proved one hurdle too many to overcome.

The Americans fell behind in the 17th minute when Gonzalez made a casual attempt with his left foot to clear Alvin Jones' cross and sent the ball looping over the outstretched right arm of goalkeeper Tim Howard from 18 yards.

Jones doubled the lead in the 37th with a 35-yard strike, again to Howard's upper right corner, and nearly scored another in the 44th when his swerving shot bounced off Howard's chest and spilled into the penalty area.

Christian Pulisic, the Americans' 19-year-old star midfielder, scored in the 47th minute from the arc with a right-footed shot. He played a role in 12 of the 17 American goals in the hexagonal.

One minute later, Howard made a kick save on Shahdon Winchester's short-range shot, and DeAndre Yedlin blocked Levi Garcia's follow-up attempt.

The U.S. bench was tense, as Honduras scored twice early in the second half to take the lead over visiting Mexico in the 60th minute and Panama tied the score against visiting Costa Rica in the 52nd.

Clint Dempsey, who entered at the start of the second half, was denied by goalkeeper Adrian Foncette's leaping save in the 69th and hit a post from 22 yards in the 77th. Pulisic's shot in the 87th was saved by Foncette.

All American reserves were standing for much of the final minutes, and Arena had repeated exasperated looks.

"No excuses for us not getting the second goal and at least a point," Arena said. "It's a blemish for us."

Just a few hundred fans were in the stands at 10,000-capacity Ato Boldon Stadium, located 24 miles south of the capital, Port-of-Spain. Paul Caligiuri's famous goal at the National Stadium in 1989 put the U.S. in the World Cup for the first time since 1950.

Among the spectators were a few dozen American Outlaws, the U.S. supporters group.

Water that had flooded the track surrounding the field ahead of the U.S. training session Monday was gone.