Hope Solo doesn't back down from Twitter rant about Chastain

U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo dives for a shot U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo dives for a shot on goal against Japan during a friendly soccer match in Columbus, Ohio. (May 14, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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MANCHESTER, England -- U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo celebrated her 31st birthday Monday while defending and explaining her reasons for her celebrated Twitter rant about American women's soccer legend and NBC Olympics commentator Brandi Chastain.

Colombian forward Lady Andrade, on the other hand, never had an opportunity to defend herself. She was slapped with a two-game suspension by the FIFA disciplinary committee for her ill-advised punch that left U.S. striker Abby Wambach with a black eye in the 4-2 Olympic win Saturday.

That means Andrade won't play against France in the Group G finale here Tuesday and in the quarterfinals if the South Americans advance that far. Wambach claimed Andrade had "sucker punched" her and called for a sanction although the United States did not file a formal complaint (the United States also had no comment on FIFA's decision).

Solo, however, is expected to start for Team USA (2-0-0, six points) against North Korea (1-1-0, three), which needs a draw to advance to the knockout round. A tie or win would give the Americans the group title and avoid a possible quarterfinal confrontation with Women's World Cup champion Japan.

Solo did not back down from any of her tweets made Saturday, when she ripped Chastain for being critical of U.S. defender Rachel Buehler.

Speaking to the media for the first time since her tweets after a walk-through at Old Trafford, the site of Tuesday's match, Solo said: "It's not about what made me unhappy. It's not about one game. I have my beliefs that the best commentators and the best analysts should . . . bring energy and excitement and passion to the game and a lot of knowledge, and at some point need to help build the game, and I don't think Brandi has that."

When pressed about whether she had spoken to Chastain since the incident or was surprised by the publicity surrounding her tweets, the usually loquacious Solo refused to elaborate.

"Again it's my opinion and nothing else really matters, to be honest," she said. "What matters is [Tuesday's] game, playing at Old Trafford. The team's excited. It's my birthday. I don't care to answer any more questions about Brandi."

And that was that.

Midfielder Shannon Boxx, who injured her right quad against France, will sit out her second consecutive match.

"We will not take any risks," coach Pia Sundhage said. "Hopefully, she will be available for the quarterfinal."

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