When Brandi Chastain, a two-time Olympic gold medalist as a soccer player and the current color commentator on coverage of the U.S. women's soccer team, criticized player Rachel Buehler, there's no way she could have known she'd be entering a bit of a battle.
When Buehler's teammate Hope Solo heard that Chastain had called out the defender, she made headlines for her rant on Twitter. Now, Chastain has responded to Solo with comments of her own.
During the telecast of the Americans' 3-0 win over the Colombians on Saturday, Chastain said: "Defend. Win the ball and then keep possession. And that's something Rachel Buehler actually needs to, I think, improve on in this tournament."
By way of background, Chastain told USA Today before the Colombia game that Solo has a "humongous ego."
"Its 2 bad we cant have commentators who better represents the team & knows more the game @brandichastain! #fb" Solo tweeted after the game. The goaltender was just getting started.
"Lay off commentating about defending and gking until you get more educated @brandichastain the game has changed from a decade ago. #fb," Solo wrote, continuing her rant on the social-media site. "Its important 2 our fans 2 enjoy the spirit of the Olympics. Its not possible when sum1 on air is saying that a player is the worst defender!"
Solo added, "I feel bad 4 our fans that have 2 push mute...@brandichastain should be helping to grow the sport," and mentioned that she likes Chastain's announcing partner Arlo White.
On Sunday, Chastain responded to Solo's comments by saying that she'll continue to do her job, "which is to be an honest and objective analyst at the Olympics." The New York Daily News speculated there might be more to the exchange between Chastain and Solo, indicating it may be partly rooted in the changing of the guard in U.S. women's soccer at the national level.
Solo met with coach Pia Sundhage and her teammates following the outburst in an effort to avoid the tweets from becoming a distraction. Sundhage told the Associated Press Solo will not be disciplined.
Chastain is best known for taking off her jersey in celebration after she scored the winning kick for the Americans at the 1999 World Cup Final. Along with teammates Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, and Briana Scurry, Chastain has been one of the most recognizable faces in U.S. women's soccer since that victory.
The current U.S. team is ranked No. 1 in the world, in part because of Solo' and team captain Abby Wambach's star power. It's certainly possible that even though the two have not yet won a World Cup, they may have had enough of being in the shadow of that iconic 1990s-era team. Still, Solo was in goal when the U.S. squandered a 1-0 lead in its last World Cup appearance.
Chastain also criticized Solo after the goaltender failed a drug test because of a medication prescribed by a doctor, according to the Daily News.
"Something as innocuous as a cold medication to clear up the sniffles could derail not only you as an individual, but perhaps a whole team," Chastain said. "I think we could all go without some medication for a short amount of time and not suffer too greatly."
Atlanta Beat coach James Galanis might agree with that assessment. On Saturday, he tweeted, "Old generation vs new. Old gen afraid that new will eclipse their legacy. Been going on for years. Let's admire the old and embrace the new." He followed that with one that read, "Old gen in commentary positions and have been comparing and putting down new gen for years. That's what is sparking all this."
USA Today reported that Solo responded to Galanis' comments with a tweet that said, "Some people see through it," but that it was later deleted.
Solo recently appeared on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" and spent time before the Olympics promoting her coming memoir. Coach Sundhage told the AP she isn't worried about Solo becoming a distraction in the future.