It would be egregious to say that Megan Rapinoe is in the form of her life right now. After all, she’s had periods throughout her career when’s been close to unstoppable, producing goals and assists for every striker she’s played with.
Now, with OL Reign, you could say that Rapinoe’s in her third act; her reprise, her renaissance if you will. To quote Beyoncé and one of OL Reign’s recent reels:
“You won’t break my soul.”
“You won’t break my soul.”
That’s what Rapinoe has been singing in her soul since she first picked up a football. Now in the so-called twilight of her career, she’s still singing that theme inside and producing outstanding football on the outside.
Tonight against the Orlando Pride, Megan Rapinoe was at her sparkling best. The first half may not have gone the way she and her teammates would have but in that second half, they took over and Rapinoe put her stamp on the game.
When asked in the post-match conference about what is driving her to keep her brilliant form going. Megan Rapinoe had this to say. “The team is playing well, the team’s really clicking so I’m getting the ball in really dangerous positions. With the strikers we have, the midfield we have, it’s tough to stop all of us. I love getting the ball at my feet so I have a lot of options to pass to [with them].” OL Reign’s first goal exemplifies that.
Many will see the cross that Rapinoe puts in and the finding-of-space by Bethany Balcer but watch the replays. It’s what happens before Rapinoe’s cross that might make the entire sequence even more impressive.
.@mPinoe ➡️ @bethanybalcer ‼️@OLReign are back level!#ORLvRGN | #BoldTogether pic.twitter.com/DRCkTWQr26— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) August 27, 2022
Rapinoe gets to the ball before Erika Tymrak and flicks it over her head, then proceeds to take a touch before putting in an inch-perfect cross for the onrushing Balcer. Take a moment to watch that whole sequence again. It’s that good. The technique, the awareness, the execution and the goal at the end to finish it off.
The second goal may not be all Rapinoe but once again, her football IQ and her knowledge of those around her comes to the fore. Knowing that in Sofia Huerta she has a teammate that can play passes on a dime, she races towards the back post just in case it gets to her. She recognises that before her marker does and in the dying moments of the game, Rapinoe scores a walk-off winner.
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??? @mPinoe with a stoppage time stunner for @OLReign!#ORLvRGN | #BoldTogether pic.twitter.com/cVp1s0CJnd— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) August 27, 2022
It’s games like tonight’s that make you realise just how special a player Megan Rapinoe is. She’s been doing this for almost all her career when healthy and even now, at 37 years old, is creating magical moments out of thin air. Beyoncé is incomparable but if anyone is having a “renaissance” almost as good as hers right now, it’s Megan Rapinoe,
We don’t know just how far this Reign team will go but with Rapinoe’s excellence now showing up game-in, game-out, this could finally be the year for them.