09 Jul United States 2-0 Wales (Jul 9, 2023) Game Analysis – ESPN
Unofficially, it was the start of a farewell tour for standout forward Megan Rapinoe, who announced Saturday that she would retire at the completion the National Women’s Soccer League season in the fall.
Rapinoe, 38, did not play against Wales but that mattered little to the sellout crowd of more than 18,000 who gave her a rousing ovation and displayed signs of support when she entered the field prior to the start of the match.
Rapinoe is a three-time Olympian, winning gold in 2012, and will play in her fourth World Cup before returning to her NWSL team, OL Reign. She was named the best player at the 2019 World Cup in France, tying for the most goals in the competition with six.
As for the match, the U.S. was lackluster until Sophia Smith dribbled down the left side before sending a pass to an open Rodman for an easy score in the 76th minute. Rodman in the 87th minute powered a shot from 20 yards to the upper right corner.
At 21 years and 50 days old, she is the youngest USWNT player to score twice in a match.
The objective for the Americans was not to get hurt. In addition to Rapinoe, expected World Cup starters Rose Lavelle and Julie Ertz did not play and top scorer Alex Morgan was substituted at the start of the second half for Rodman.
The U.S. opens Group E play July 22 (July 21, 9 p.m. ET in the U.S.) against Vietnam. The Americans’ 23-woman roster consists of nine who return from the 2019 World Cup and 14 named to their first.
The USWNT is 8-0-0 in 2023, scoring 19 goals while allowing one.