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Megan Rapinoe out for USWNT friendlies with rib injury

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She will still travel to California to promote her fundraiser for victims of the Northern California wildfires.

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In addition to sitting out of last weekend’s battle with the top-ranked North Carolina Courage, Seattle Reign FC’s Megan Rapinoe will miss the United States women’s national team’s two friendlies against Chile to recover from a fractured rib suffered last Tuesday in Seattle’s match against the Houston Dash.

U.S. Soccer called in Utah Royals FC forward Amy Rodriguez to replace Rapinoe on the 23-player roster and announced that Rapinoe will still join the national team in California for further evaluation of her injury and to promote her fundraiser to support those affected by the wildfires in Northern California. The native of Redding, California, launched the fundraiser last week on Facebook.

The Carr Fire, which is now 90 percent contained, has burned more than 230,000 acres. When the fire was at its peak, more than 35,000 people were displaced (nearly 20 percent of Shasta County’s population). There were also 190 residences, 26 commercial structures and 63 outbuildings damaged, and eight deaths have been linked to the fire, including three firefighters.

In addition to Rapinoe’s Facebook fundraiser — which has already raised $45,000 — U.S. Soccer launched an online fundraising website, ussoccer.com/CarrFund, and will promote the donation page via in-stadium announcements and LED field boards during both USWNT games against Chile — August 31 in Carson and Sept. 4 in San Jose.

During the match in San Jose, U.S. Soccer will host a group from the Redding area who were impacted by the fire, and honor a first responder.

As for Rapinoe’s injury, the recovery time for a fractured rib varies greatly. Shea Groom played through the injury for basically the first month of the 2017 season, wearing a rib protection shield to provide some relief. Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski confirmed in the post-match press conference that Rapinoe was a last-minute scratch against North Carolina — after not appearing on the initial injury report — because they found out late the night before about the fracture.

“Initially, we thought it was just a bruise, or I guess she has a huge pain tolerance, but when we say the X-ray late last night, we saw that it was a lot worse than we thought,” Andonovski said.

Rapinoe suffered the injury on a tackle during the Houston Dash match on Tuesday — where she took a few hard knocks, but did not complain until later in the week about the soreness. Andovski confirmed that they hope she will be healthy in two more weeks, which would come when Reign FC travel to Portland to take on the Thorns. It’s not a must-win match, as Seattle already secured a spot in the playoffs, but the team will ensure they host the first semifinal match with a win or a draw.

Having Rapinoe — who loves to score against Portland — would obviously be a huge boost, but ensuring she is healthy for the playoffs is even more important. For now, fans can support her by sharing or donating to her Carr Fire fundraiser — either at the U.S. Soccer website or Rapinoe’s Facebook page.