Rapinoe's Final Game Has 'Worst Possible Outcome'

Two soccer greats were facing off in title match
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2023 11:00 AM CST
Rapinoe's Farewell Doesn't Go to Plan
OL Reign forward Megan Rapinoe, right, speaks with NJ/NY Gotham defender Ali Krieger as Rapinoe comes off the field after an injury during the first half of the NWSL Championship soccer game Saturday in San Diego.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Megan Rapinoe and Ali Krieger had imagined something else entirely for their final match. The two stars were to compete against each other in the NWSL championship on Saturday night in San Diego, Gotham vs. OL Reign, a meaningful farewell for two of the greatest players in women's soccer. Their teammates felt that way, too, the Athletic reports. "You couldn't write a better ending," Gotham's Lynn Williams said Friday. But 2½ minutes into the game, Rapinoe slipped and fell, apparently untouched, and reached for her lower right leg. "It felt like just a huge pop," she said later. "The worst possible outcome."

As she was pulled from the match, Rapinoe gingerly went over to Krieger for an embrace. Krieger urged Rapinoe to have her leg wrapped so she could return, but instead, the 38-year-old was given crutches and a boot at halftime. Krieger, whose Gotham squad won the title match 2-1, said she was "gutted" for Rapinoe, per ESPN. Players on both sides reacted emotionally when they saw Rapinoe fall. The retiring star said it's a good thing she can draw on her "deep well of sense of humor," as she did after missing a penalty shot in the World Cup in August. She laughed Saturday night after telling a press conference: "I mean I don't deserve this. I'm a better person than this." Maybe, Rapinoe mused, she was a jerk "in a previous lifetime." (More Megan Rapinoe stories.)

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