The United States Women’s National Team came out with a win on Wednesday in Brazil in its first match of the 2016 Olympic Games. After defeating New Zealand 2-0 on goals from captain Carli Lloyd and forward Alex Morgan, the U.S. is a strong favorite in the road to gold and currently leads Group G.
Lloyd’s goal was the 89th of her career and seventh Olympic goal for Team USA, which makes her the second all-time Olympic goal-scorer — behind retired striker Abby Wambach’s 10 Olympic tallies.
Despite the shutout, goalkeeper Hope Solo received a harsh response from fans at the stadium in Belo Horizonte. With nearly every touch of the ball, the Nike-sponsored athlete was greeted with loud boos from the crowd, and by the end of the match, the Brazilian crowd continually shouted “Zika” in unison whenever Solo released the ball from her possession.
Solo voiced her concern regarding the Zika virus before heading to Rio, saying, “I strongly believe that no athlete should be put into this position — to decide between your Olympic dreams and your own health.”
The two-time gold medalist also posted photos of bug repellant and a head net on social media, and that may have been the cause for such boos and chants during the Olympic opener.
Still, the professional soccer star didn’t seem phased by the crowd reaction, telling NBC Sports after the game, “It’s the Brazilians — they love soccer, they love football. It’s part of the culture, so I expect it, but they’re having fun. I mean, at least it’s loud in the stadium. I’d rather have that than hear a needle drop.”
Solo has been just one athlete who has vocalized her Zika concerns. Golf, which is making its return to the Olympics after a 112-year absence, has suffered the biggest blow, losing Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth. Both McIlroy and Johnson specifically cited Zika fears as to why they would not be participating in the 2016 Rio Games.
The USWNT is set to play France on Saturday in Belo Horizonte. Stay tuned for more Olympic coverage.