There was no surprise that Megan Rapinoe earned an assist in the draw with North Carolina on Sunday. When the light shines on 'Pinoe she has a history of overperforming.
It's part of what made her 2019 so special. The harsh klieglight of a culture war and politics was shining on her – both of her own choosing and then because once it started it was never going to stop.
Megan embraced that light, shone it back and then used it to power the very best year of her immeasurable career.
Friday afternoon she'll be under the lights once more – this time in front of a potential record crowd at Lumen Field and on the airwaves of CBS around the United States. That match will possibly be her last-ever home match, depending on various playoff scenarios.
As a dual-threat, she's already in the top five for assists and top 10 for goals in league history, despite missing what feels like a third of her Reign career for injuries and international duty.
One doesn't need a great imagination to think that Rapinoe's Friday night will be special. The team will do pomp, for sure. And they're good at it. But 'Pinoe shines brightly beyond mere pomp and speeches. She's dreamed and cheerled for a time when Seattle shows up for a Reign match like it does for the Sounders.
Finally that's happening.
I've got a strong feeling she's going to make us remember the moment forever and not just because of a grand speech and a gaudy outfit. But because what she has been, before she became so much more, is one of the grandest soccer players our nation has produced.
I'm looking forward to seeing that player in at least one more home match along with 30,000 of my friends.
I worked for Reign FC in the 2019 season when Megan Rapinoe dominated the Women's World Cup, the NWSL, the FIFA Best and social media. #ShePlaysHere, forever.
Puget Sound Soccer
Draws for the top flight teams while Defiance advance in the playoffs.
Reign draw 1-1 while down a player
Alanna Cook saved a sure goal and was sent off in added time of the first half. Reign managed to hang on to save the point and set themselves up for a massive match Friday night (5 pm PT, CBS) against Washington Spirit – because of course.
With two weeks left in the season Reign can still finish anywhere from winning the Shield to 11th.
Sounders stymie Nashville
Nashville's record at home is strong. In their 0-0 draw to Seattle their offense was kept insignificant, their second-worst performance in their 2018 (USL)-present history. Unsurprisingly a Sounders team without three of their attacking stars was unable to score on the best defense in the league.
Seattle can realistically finish anywhere between second and 9th (the non-playoff qualification scenarios are in the millionth of possibilities) with two home matches and one road match remaining.
Defiance dominate Houston, for a half
The 4-3 victory by Tacoma puts them in the Western Conference semifinals, this time at home. Over the next week the coaching staff will want to make certain that the players don't play to the game state, as some casual passing gave Dynamo2 the opportunity to level the match.
Later this week they'll find out their opponent after Colorado Rapids 2 selects their opponent. They'll play either Earthquakes 2 or Austin FC II.
Looking back at the weekend's news
Cincinnati and St. Louis take their conferences; Spokane Velocity have 3,800 season tix deposits
Midwestern teams earn their first titles
The past 15 years of MLS have, for the most part, featured success by the teams on the coasts. Sure there was a blip of success from Colorado and Columbus and Kansas City, but those were the outliers. The powers were in Seattle, Philly, New York, Portland and Atlanta in the US.
This is the year of the heartland. Four significant titles have been passed out so far, with Cincinnati, Houston, St. Louis and Miami (the outlier) winning them. The favorites for MLS Cup are Cinci and St. Louis. Flyover country is now soccer country, too. Even attendance in flyover country is strong. Everything you thought you knew about what it takes to build a successful MLS team on and off the pitch is continually challenged because another newcomer will find a new way to do it.
St. Louis did it by embracing their dormant history and Euro players. Cinci and Nashville clawed their way up from USL, with both using predominantly MLS vets as their keys to success. The key lesson? Americans love soccer and regions love to do it their own way.
Spokane Velocity will start with a top-of-league attendance figure
The Inland Northwest is turning out for their future USL League One team. In a league that's struggled to see a future outside of the South, Spokane's launch looks likely to be the league’s best ever. About 500 showed up for their brand reveal. There are 3,800 season ticket deposits with a waitlist. They’re building a stadium that is appropriate in size for the league, and modern. Spokane Velocity will be the state's fourth fully pro outdoor soccer team and their women's side will eventually be the fifth. The business launch is strong. How will they do on the pitch with the massive amounts of travel that will require multiple legs to get between Spokane and Lancaster and Tucson and Richmond, etc? That'll be determined when they play.
- Matt Doyle's MLS roundup.
- There's a new youngest professional soccer player in American history, and he plays for Sacramento Republic.
- Henry Wingo scored a banger