(Photo credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports)
Megan Rapinoe, star player and activist, bid farewell to the U.S. women's national team in a 2-0 victory against South Africa in Chicago on Sunday.
Rapinoe, 38, walked off the field in the 54th minute for the last time for the U.S., but will complete the season for OL Reign of the National Women's Soccer League.
Trinity Rodman made it 1-0 in the 18th minute on a volley from a cross by Alex Morgan for her sixth international goal. Emily Sonnett's header in the 49th extended the lead. It was her second goal.
Rapinoe was a two-time Women's World Cup champion (2015, '19), 2012 Olympic gold medalist and 2019 World Player of the Year.
She made her 203rd appearance for the USWNT and ranks 10th in program history with 63 goals and is tied with Abby Wambach for third with 73 assists.
Wearing the captain's armband, Rapinoe made her final minutes memorable. In the 49th, she aided the goal by Sonnett without officially getting an assist when her corner kick was punched straight to Sonnett. In the 52nd, Rapinoe's free kick from 25 yards flew inches over the crossbar.
Soon after, she exited to hugs from her teammates and a standing ovation from her fans.
It was the second emotional match for the U.S. in four days after Julie Ertz retired from competitive matches on Thursday following a 3-0 win over South Africa in Cincinnati.
Rapinoe's final match comes 17 years and 63 days after making her international debut on July 23, 2006. Only three players have had a longer USWNT career: Kristine Lilly (23 years, 94 days), Christie Pearce (18 years, 204 days) and Mia Hamm (17 years, 127 days).
During her career, Rapinoe has been an advocate for social issues including LGBTQ rights, racial equality and equal pay for women's national team players.
The match was the second for interim coach Twila Kilgore after the resignation of Vlatko Andonovski. The U.S. lost in the round of 16 of the 2023 Women's World Cup, the first time the four-time champions did not reach the semifinals.
--Field Level Media