If there was ever any doubt that Seattle Reign FC’s Megan Rapinoe could continue her incredible form into 2018, she put all concerns to rest on Sunday — helping the U.S. Women’s National Team defeat Mexico 6-2. On the heels of a one-assist performance against Mexico earlier in the week, Rapinoe played all 90 minutes and not only found the back of the net once, she assisted four goals.
Not only that, while she won’t earn an assist on the score sheet, it was Rapinoe’s cross that bounced around in front of goal before Carli Lloyd headed it into the back of the net — a goal that gave Lloyd her 100th in a U.S. jersey.
Mexico certainly doesn’t bring the same kind of challenges as some of the tougher competition the U.S. has faced this year, but they came out with a lot more fire and pressure on Sunday against the top-ranked team in the world. The U.S. defense struggled early, especially one set pieces, and found themselves down 2-1 in the first half.
Rapinoe, meanwhile, was allowed to roam more freely and push higher up the pitch for the U.S. — often cutting inside to get involved in the build-up of play. It paid off immediately, as Rapinoe sent a through ball to Mallory Pugh in just the 3rd minute of the match. Pugh, who may have been offside, finished easily.
Brian ➡️ Rapinoe ➡️ Pugh ⚽️— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) April 8, 2018
What a start for the USWNT! pic.twitter.com/QZJafJbPul
Two more assists came off corner kicks, where Rapinoe connected with Lindsey Horan and Alex Morgan. She helped the U.S. close out the first half with an unselfish lateral pass into the box, which a sliding, outstretched Morgan was able to push into the back of the net.
Rapinoe’s goal came after she put Morgan through on goal, but Mexican goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago was able to slide in to clear the ball. It bounced kindly back to Rapinoe, whose one-touch chip shot bounced easily over Santiago.
Have a day, Pinoe! She adds a goal to her 3 assists to add to the USWNT's lead. 5-2! pic.twitter.com/NiluLK2rEF— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) April 8, 2018
Coming off a Player of the Week performance in Seattle Reign FC’s only NWSL match of the season to date, Rapinoe continues to show to the world that she is as dangerous as ever — especially when teams give her far too much space with the ball.
At this point, it should come as no surprise that when Rapinoe is allowed to run freely, the results are lethal for her opponents. Here’s hoping NWSL teams continue to make the same mistake Mexico and the Washington Spirit made.
Rapinoe and her U.S. teammate Allie Long — who had a few strong chances of her own against Mexico — now return to Seattle as the club heads on its first road match of the season. Reign FC faces Sky Blue FC on Sunday, April 15 at 2 PM PT. Maybe we’ll see more Rapinoe magic again.