US Dominate Banyana Banyana in Megan Rapinoe’s Farewell Match

Iconic USWNT footballer Megan Rapinoe celebrates having lead her to a commanding win against Banyana Banyana to cap an illustrious career at Solder Field in Chicago on Sunday, 24 September, 2023. Photo: National Women’s Soccer League @NWSL on Twitter

In a highly anticipated match, the U.S. women’s national team bid farewell to iconic veteran Megan Rapinoe in a masterful display against South Africa, at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday, 24 September, 2023.

The game marked Rapinoe’s final appearance for the USWNT, coming after she announced her retirement ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. With the team eager to honour Rapinoe’s impressive career, they aimed to deliver a remarkable performance on the field. 

A Fitting Farewell for Rapinoe

It was an emotional and action-packed farewell for one of the team’s most influential players.

The match started with anticipation and celebration as both teams lined up. Before the anthems, U.S. Soccer held a touching pre-match ceremony to honour Megan Rapinoe, with her family and fiancée Sue Bird alongside USSF officials.

The USA showcased their dominance right from the beginning, commanding early spells of possession and putting pressure on the South African defence. In the 13th minute, the home side had already struck four shots, signalling their intent to take control. Forward Alex Morgan stood out with encouraging attempts at goal, determined to make an impact after a goalless performance in the World Cup.

Dominance on the Field

The breakthrough came in the 18th minute when defender Casey Krueger made a run down the right flank. She found Morgan with a well-placed pass, who sent a precise ball across the goal for Trinity Rodman to emphatically score.

The USWNT continued to assert their dominance, creating chances and maintaining possession. The South African defence struggled to contain the relentless pressure from the home side, and in the 28th minute, Rapinoe had a free kick opportunity but missed over the bar.

By halftime, the USWNT had established their authority over the game. They had 60% possession, ten shots, and limited South Africa to zero shots on goal. The first half ended with the scoreline favouring the USA 1-0.

A New Era Begins

The second half began with a substitution for the USWNT, as Cook replaced Naomi Girma. The home team wasted no time in extending their lead, with Emily Sonnett scoring in the 49th minute. Rapinoe’s corner kick caused chaos in the South African box, leading to Sonnett expertly heading the ball home for her second international goal.

Rapinoe continued to influence the game, but her dangerous free kick narrowly missed the target in the 51st minute. In the 53rd minute, Margaret Purce substituted in for Rapinoe, marking the end of an era for the USWNT as Rapinoe left the field for the final time in her national team jersey.

South Africa made double substitutions to try and change their fortunes, but the USWNT’s dominance remained strong. The home side also made their own changes, including a debut for Mia Fishel, who had showcased her goal-scoring ability in Liga MX Femenil for Tigres.

Despite a spirited effort from South Africa, they struggled to create meaningful goal-scoring opportunities. The USWNT defence stood firm and organised, preventing the visitors from scoring.

In the closing stages, Lindsey Horan and the USWNT continued to press for a third goal. A deflection by a defender prevented Horan’s close-range shot from finding the net. As the referee signalled four minutes of additional time, South Africa briefly had possession but failed to trouble the solid and organised US defence. 

The final whistle confirmed a 2-0 victory for the USWNT and a fitting farewell for Rapinoe in her 203rd and final national team appearance.

The USWNT celebrated Rapinoe’s impressive career with a dominant performance throughout the game. The team showcased their potential and resilience, leaving behind the disappointment of their early exit in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 with optimism for the future. As Rapinoe bid farewell to the national team, she left behind a legacy of inspiration, passion, and excellence that will continue to shape the USWNT for years to come.


Photo Caption: Iconic USWNT footballer Megan Rapinoe celebrates having lead her to a commanding win against Banyana Banyana to cap an illustrious career at Solder Field in Chicago on Sunday, 24 September, 2023. Photo: National Women’s Soccer League @NWSL on Twitter

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