OL Reign beat Angel City FC 1-0 on Saturday night in the NWSL game to advance to the playoffs, but that was just one of the storylines flowing from the match.
In the 72nd minute, Reign winger Megan Rapinoe was sent off for a second yellow card for not agreeing to leave the field after being substituted.
Notably, this is the first red card of Rapino’s professional career, the first time she has been sacked in over 350 professional matches for club and country.
Rapinoe has 187 caps for the US Women’s Team, which is the 15th-highest in Team USA history. Her 62 caps are 10th all-time for her country.
MORE: Find out where all the USWNT stars play their club football
Why did Megan Rapinoe get a red card?
Rapino received a second warning from referee Karen Callado, who was clearly unhappy with the officiating throughout the match. She was already on yellow, receiving her first yellow card in the 58th minute.
Bethany Balser, who scored the only goal in the first half, was injured midway through the second half.
Substituted in the 72nd minute immediately after Balcer’s injury, Rapino spoke to an official as she left the field, expressing her belief that the player’s safety had been compromised by the referee, which could lead to Balcer’s injury. .
“I felt like the constant theme throughout the game was that both benches, both groups of players, were worried about the safety of their teammates,” OL Reign Coach. Laura Harvey said at the post-match press conference, also confirming that Rapino’s remarks were about refereeing and caused her to be sent off.
This was not confirmed by the player after the match, but the issue that Rapinoe took on seemed to have been brewing for longer than the mere 72 minutes at Lumen Field. There were 29 fouls and eight yellow cards in the game, but Rapino’s removal for dissent was the first red card issued in an entire NWSL season with 50 games played. NWSL matches this year have averaged 21.5 fouls and 2.7 yellow cards.
OL Reign was not reduced to 10 players after the red card, as it was after Rapino was replaced by Reign’s super-replacement Ciarra King. Rapinoe will now sit out the next club game on July 1 at home against North Carolina Courage, who are in last place in the 12-team standings.
Laura Harvey confirms that Megan Rapinoe received a second yellow for telling the judge about Bethany Balser’s injury/safety. #RGNvLA
— Bella Valeriano Munson (@munson_bella) June 19, 2022
How many red cards did Megan Rapino receive?
According to the publication, in her entire club and international career, this is the first suspension that Megan Rapino has earned in her 363 matches. Paul Kennedy of Soccer America.
Megan Rapino receives a red card for dissent (second yellow) off the bench in the 2nd half @OLReign coincide with @weareangelcity (1st game she started in 2022). First red card in 176 games in 14 seasons with 6 teams in 4 leagues. She was never catapulted in 187 #USVNT Matches.
— Paul Kennedy (@pkedit) June 19, 2022
FBRef, which has kept women’s national teams since 2011 and club data since 2013, indicates that Rapino has earned 13 yellow cards in 94 registered club games, as well as seven yellow cards in 69 USWNT games in his record. That’s 20 yellow cards in 163 games, averaging one yellow card every eight games.
Rapinoe has never been retired in her 183 caps for Team USA, not having received a yellow card for the national team since the 2020 Olympics.
When will Rapino next play for USWNT?
Rapinoe, now 36, has barely competed in the OL Reign this season. Her match on Saturday was her first start of the season when she earned just 155 minutes, all off the bench.
However, USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski named Rapino to the roster for the CONCACAF W Championship this summer, her first appearance on the roster since October.
This was an unexpected inclusion, because Andonowski confirmed that other veteran players such as Kristen Press, who have earned much more playing time at club level this season, have not been included due to competition at the forward position. The press subsequently tore her cruciate ligament prior to the release of the USWNT roster, but Andonowski stated that she should have been cut from the roster before the injury.
Oddly enough, in the process of declaring that Rapinoe would be on the field this summer and not just on the veterans’ list, Andonowski also added that Rapino’s appearance on the USWNT summer list was agreed to last year.
“Meghan and I had a great conversation after last year’s season and she understood what we were going through,” Andonowski said on a conference call after the line-up was released.
“In the course of the conversation, she realized that we are going to bring a lot of players, we are going to test a lot of players, we want to give young players a lot of minutes and opportunities to play, and also give us the opportunity to evaluate them as much as possible. But after all is said and done, if she’s healthy and can get minutes, she’ll be on the list.”
This summer, the USWNT also included Alex Morgan, another great veteran who was on the fringes until 2022.