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Injured or not, it was the same old, one-of-a-kind Megan Rapinoe

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

No one else could pull it off like this. Only Megan Rapinoe.

Who else could have their night ruined the way Rapinoe’s was on Saturday and still leave the press room in stitches. For that matter, who else would so much as set foot in the press room after what happened to her. This was Megan Rapinoe, two hours or so after an untimely injury cut her final professional soccer game short, opening her press conference with the words: “Actually looking back it’s kind of funny…”

Four years ago in Lyon, I watched Rapinoe score the winning penalty in the World Cup final, and then walk out to receive her Golden Ball award with her arms open because she owned the world. I raced back to my hotel and wrote this column. It was about so much more than soccer. Four years later, my respect for Megan Rapinoe the person has only grown. It was never more evident than Saturday night.

In 2019, the world was Rapinoe’s oyster. Saturday night at Snapdragon Stadium, it was anything but. The NWSL Championship clash between her OL Reign and NJ/NY Gotham FC was supposed to be her final 90 minutes. It was supposed to be a celebration of Rapinoe and Gotham’s Ali Krieger, also retiring after the match and whose resume was similarly bereft of an NWSL title.

Unfortunately, Rapinoe’s right Achilles tendon didn’t get the message. The player may have planned for 90 minutes but the Achilles only had about 3. Then it popped, Rapinoe went down, and then out. Before she left, Krieger came over for a hug and told her to wrap it and get back in the game. But no, her old friend told her, “I think I tore my Achillies tendon.”

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