The U.S. women’s national team comfortably beat New Zealand 2-0 in their Olympic opener on Wednesday, but it wasn’t a cozy evening for goalkeeper Hope Solo.
The Brazilian crowd booed Solo mercilessly every time she touched the ball, and towards the end of the match shouted "Zika" in unison whenever Solo kicked it upfield.
The hostile atmosphere was a not so subtle response to a couple of tweets Solo posted about the Zika virus in the weeks leading up to the tournament. In one tweet, Solo wore a mosquito head net while holding a giant bottle of insect repellent. In another, she spread out an entire arsenal of "Zika proof" ammunition on her bed.
After the match, Solo didn’t seem bothered by the crowd’s reaction.
"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," Solo told NBC Sports. "I mean, at least it’s loud in the stadium – I’d rather have that than hear a needle drop."
Her coach Jill Ellis also defended Solo, referencing her apology to Brazilians a few days before the team’s opener.
"I heard that there were some negative responses here in Brazil," Solo told reporters on Monday. "I never would want to offend the host country. In fact, I’m cheering for Team USA, but besides Team USA, I’m going to be cheering for the host country. I’m very grateful for them for hosting the tournament. Honestly, everybody around here has been so just nice and genuine and it feels very warming to be here."
Solo might be cheering for Brazil this month, but the feeling does not appear to be mutual.