It's hard to fault Hope Solo for the two first half goals conceded by the United States in the first half of their final group stage matchup of the 2011 Women's World Cup. The American back-line was porous, to say the least, giving Sweden two excellent opportunities off dead-ball situations in the first half. As the Swedish National Team hammered home a penalty kick and free kick off a deflection, the USA found itself in an unfamiliar position in this Women's World Cup, trailing for the first time in the tournament.
Amy LePeilbet's sloppy challenge inside the box gave Sweden a penalty in the 15th minute, putting Solo on the spot right away and placing her shutout streak in jeopardy. Solo guessed right on Lisa Dahlkvist's shot, but the pace put it just out of reach, ending the streak and giving Sweden a 1-0 lead.
Later in the half, the US conceded a dangerous free kick just outside the box as the back-line struggled to contain the Swedish attack. Nilla Fischer's free kick clipped a US player on the outside of the wall, changing the ball's direction and throwing Solo off. The ball trickled into the net and the United States found itself stunned, trailing by two goals.
Abby Wambach got one back in the second half as she redirected a corner into the net to cut Sweden's lead to 2-1, but that was all the USA could muster. The Americans fell to Sweden by a goal, but will still advance to the Women's World Cup quarterfinals. Unfortunately, the loss results in a matchup with powerhouse Brazil in what's sure to be the blockbuster match of the round.
Sweden took the Group C crown with a perfect nine points, with the USA advancing as the second team out of the group stage with six points. The US and Brazil take the field on Sunday in a loser-out game in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Women's World Cup. It's not the matchup the Americans hoped for, but they're through to the next round and into the knockout stages.