All Scores

In injury, in defeat, in retirement, Megan Rapinoe remains true to herself

Megan Rapinoe stands with Sue Bird after OL Reign’s loss to Gotham FC in the 2023 NWSL Championship. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

No one can ever accuse Megan Rapinoe of following a well-trodden path, even in the final moments of her career. The pink-haired iconoclast, two-time World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist wrote the final word in her illustrious career in a fashion no one could have expected, not even herself.

Her ending didn’t follow the fairytale story of the previous week. Instead, it went like this: She sat down in the sixth minute of Saturday’s NWSL Championship, shaking her head with a wry grin as she called for OL Reign’s trainers. She gingerly walked off the pitch in her final moments as a professional soccer player, having to watch on the sidelines as the Reign fell, 2-1, to Gotham FC.

“I wasn’t overly emotional about it,” Rapinoe said after the match of the moment immediately following the injury. “I mean, f—ing yeeted my Achilles in the sixth minute of my last game ever in the literal championship game.”

Rose Lavelle, a longtime Reign and U.S. women’s national teammate of Rapinoe, was the first person to reach her as she sat on the ground, shaking her head. Rapinoe didn’t mince words, telling Lavelle right away she was confident she had torn her right Achilles tendon.

“I think when she first said that, I said, ‘Are you effing joking me?” Lavelle told the media after the game.

After a week of buildup, wherein the battle of retiring legends in Rapinoe and Gotham defender Ali Krieger provided the banner headline for the 2023 NWSL Championship, only Krieger saw out the rest of the match. The two good friends shared a hug as Rapinoe left the field, before the restart of play required a refocus from both sides.

“I was just like, ‘You need to wrap that up and get back out here, so just take a couple minutes,’” Krieger said after the game. “I just feel so gutted for her. Honestly, I never thought that that would ever happen, and I feel so sad because you know football is such a risk, right? And you never know if it’s going to be your last game, your last moment.”

True to form, though, Rapinoe didn’t let herself hide away in the locker room while her team pushed to regain momentum. After being given a boot and crutches, she re-emerged on the sideline, cheering her teammates and giving tips even as she had to perch piggyback-style on the back of backup goalkeeper Laurel Ivory.

“I don’t wanna sit there and sulk on the bench,” Rapinoe said. “It’s not just any player going out, it’s me, and it’s my last game ever. So I just wanted to try to stay in it and keep it light, and I just wanted to be in it for myself too.”

The Reign almost completed the comeback twice, after falling behind first on a goal by Lynn Williams and then again by Esther González. Despite clearly dealing with shaken emotions, Rapinoe’s teammates stuck to their game plan, keeping the game in front of them until the very last minute of stoppage time.

The Seattle club’s title hopes remained alive in large part due to the play of Lavelle. The Reign midfielder broke the Gotham line with a piercing run in the first half, drawing Seattle level 1-1. She then played facilitator, breaking lines again with searching passes that her teammates couldn’t put in the back of the net. Even as Gotham sat deeper in their full-team defense, Lavelle could find spaces through her vision and her dribbling ability, which proved worthy of the appreciation of the 25,000-plus fans in attendance.

But in the chaotic final moments of second-half stoppage time, Lavelle herself couldn’t quite land a direct free kick from just outside the box. She was facing field player Nealy Martin in goal after Gotham keeper Amanda Haught received a red card due to intentionally handling the ball outside the penalty area.

“I just told her I was sorry we couldn’t get it done for her,” Lavelle said of Rapinoe. “And it’s just been such an honor to be able to share the field with her and sit next to her in the locker room.”

Rapinoe’s final moments as a professional might have not gone as she’d pictured, but they weren’t defined by her slow walk off the pitch, or by the Reign falling short. Her legacy remains the same, upheld by her willingness to immediately get back out in front of the crowd, and her teammates, to try to will them forward in any way she could.

“I think the energy Pinoe gave us was huge,” Lavelle said. “I can’t even imagine that moment in her head. And I think to still be having such a good attitude and cheering us on through it all was like, I mean, she’s amazing.”

OL Reign defender Lauren Barnes, Rapinoe’s club teammate of 11 years, agreed, saying: “I think you’d never expect something like this to happen, and it does. And she carries herself like she always has. She is the heart and soul of our club.”

In the aftermath of Rapinoe’s final game, her teammates reflected on her impact.

“You guys know,” Barnes said of the legacy of the leaders at the Reign, including herself, Rapinoe, and Jess Fishlock.. “You’ve been writing it for 11 years what our legacy is, and we just want to embody that, and we truly want to share it with the fans as much as we possibly can. So these [tears] are real. We love each other. So yeah, it’s hard and it’s gonna be different. It’s never the same now.”

‘UNINTERRUPTED’s Top Class Tennis’ Debuts on Prime 

Still from tennis docuseries UNINTERRUPTED'S Top Class Tennis
'UNINTERRUPTED'S Top Class Tennis' follows four junior players as they prep for the Orange Bowl. (Amazon MGM Studios)

Prime Video is hitting the tennis court with Thursday's streaming premiere of UNINTERRUPTED's Top Class Tennis.

After four seasons of the men's high school basketball-focused Top Class: The Life and Times of The Sierra Canyon Trailblazers, athlete empowerment brand UNINTERRUPTED is expanding its purview to tennis with a new four-episode mixed-gender docuseries.

Junior tennis stars take centerstage

Behind the concept is 2017 US Open champion and world No. 45 pro Sloane Stephens, who co-executive produced the series alongside LeBron James and Maverick Carter, co-founders of UNINTERRUPTED and its production and entertainment development arm, The SpringHill Company.

Top Class Tennis follows four players on their journeys to the Orange Bowl, arguably the junior circuit’s Grand Slam equivalent. The Florida-based international tournament was established in 1947 and has crowned a long list of future pros as champions, from retired great Steffi Graf to current star Coco Gauff.

Stealing the spotlight this season is rising Harvard sophomore and 2022-23 USA Today Girls Tennis Player of the Year Stephanie Yakoff, as well as five-time junior title winner and incoming Texas freshman Ariana Anazagasty-Pursoo. Both already have WTA creds, with Yakoff featuring at the 2023 BNP Paribas Open while Anazagasty-Pursoo competed on three Grand Slam courts.

Kamilla Cardoso, Kiki Rice, Caitlin Clark, Holly Rowe and Kristen Lappas at the ESPN+ 'Full Court Press' premiere
ESPN+'s Full Court Press is one of several women's sports docs hitting the screen this year. (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Women's sports storms the big screen

Top Class Tennis is just the latest in what's shaping up to be a women’s sports documentary boom.

From Max's LFG about the USWNT's fight for equal pay and Netflix's Under Pressure chronicling the 2023 World Cup to ESPN+’s 2023-24 NCAA basketball series Full Court Press, athletes in women’s sports have taken streamers by storm.

UNINTERRUPTED's Top Class Tennis is available for streaming now on Prime Video

JWS Launches ‘The Gold Standard’ Hosted by Olympians Kelley O’Hara & Lisa Leslie

the gold standard logo
'The Gold Standard' is just one of three new JWS shows tackling the Summer Olympics.

Just Women's Sports announced three new digital series on Thursday, headlined by The Gold Standard, a new studio show hosted by Olympic gold medalists and women's sports icons Kelley O'Hara and Lisa Leslie.

USWNT and NWSL great O'Hara, a two-time World Cup winner and Olympic gold and bronze medalist, is teaming up with three-time WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie, herself a four-time Olympic gold medalist with Team USA, to bring viewers inside the world of Olympic women's sports. The pair will record each episode in-studio, with a series of special guests joining them throughout the show's run.

An insider's view of the Summer Games

The Gold Standard will debut on July 27th and cover the biggest women's sports stories from the Paris Olympics, giving fans a unique perspective by tapping into the insights and opinions of two legendary Olympians. 

"I know first-hand just how exciting and intense the Olympic Games can be," Leslie told JWS. "This show gives us a chance as athletes to bring fans closer to the experience, by sharing our unique insights into the Games. And with all the momentum we're seeing in women's sports, now is the perfect time to have a show dedicated to the biggest women's sports moments at the Olympic Games." 

"I can still remember watching the '96 Olympics and knowing that I wanted to be on that stage one day," says O'Hara. "Having the chance to compete in the Olympics and win gold was one of the highlights of my career. I'm looking forward to being a fan this time around and getting the chance to share my own perspective on the Games' biggest stories. Having teamed with Just Women's Sports before, I know this will be content that resonates with fans." 

The Gold Standard will live on Just Women's Sports' YouTube page, with select social cuts distributed across JWS digital platforms. The six-episode show will run through August 13th.

uswnt stars kelley o'hara and jaedyn shaw on jws digital series 1v1
1v1 with Kelley O'Hara will focus on USWNT players as they prep for the 2024 Olympics. (Just Women's Sports)

Additional series focus on USWNT's Olympic run

The Gold Standard is just one of three upcoming JWS series designed to invite fans to experience the Summer Games from an Olympian's point of view, with additional series zeroing in on the USWNT's 2024 Olympic run.

Ahead of the opening ceremony, JWS will launch the latest edition of 1v1, with host Kelley O'Hara interviewing three of her USWNT teammates: Emily Sonnett, Jaedyn Shaw, and Rose Lavelle. These peer-to-peer interviews provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the USWNT's preparation for their first major tournament under new manager Emma Hayes.

To round things out, JWS is also bringing back its award-winning series, The 91st. This tournament's edition will be hosted by retired USWNT star and World Cup champion Jessica McDonald alongside noted soccer personalities Jordan Angeli and Duda Pavão. The 91st will follow the USWNT as it looks to go for gold against a stacked international field at the Paris Olympics — including reigning World Cup winners Spain.

Each new digital series leans on the expertise of its accomplished hosts and special guest stars, providing fans with candid, personality-driven commentary surrounding this summer's biggest event.

Costa Rica Holds USWNT to 0-0 Draw in Frustrating Olympic Send-Off

USWNT midfielder Lindsey Horan dribbles the ball by Costa Rica forward Melissa Herrera and midfielder Gloriana Villalobos
The USWNT had 12 shots on goal on Tuesday despite failing to find the back of the net. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

The USWNT didn't quite get the going away party they were hoping for, settling for a 0-0 draw with Costa Rica on Tuesday in their final tune-up match before the 2024 Olympics kick off next week.

The US produced 26 shots — 12 on target — alongside 67 touches in the box, the most in any match where they failed to convert a single goal since at least 2015, per Opta. Yet they also faced a heroic performance from Costa Rica goalkeeper Noelia Bermúdez, who tallied 12 saves on the night.

USWNT starters remained mostly intact

After Saturday's win over Mexico, USWNT manager Emma Hayes opted for a very similar starting XI, only swapping Crystal Dunn in for Jenna Nighswonger due to load management.

Named starter Rose Lavelle was a late scratch from the lineup after team warmups, with US Soccer attributing her last-minute absence to "leg tightness." Lavelle was replaced by midfielder Korbin Albert, giving the US a slightly less aggressive attacking edge throughout the match.

Casey Krueger, Lynn Williams, Jaedyn Shaw, Emily Sonnett, and rookie Croix Bethune all got minutes in the second half, coming off the bench to contend with Washington, DC's brutally hot conditions.

USWNT forward Sophia Smith and Costa Rica midfielder Gloriana Villalobos battle for the ball
Costa Rica managed to fend off the USWNT with a strong defensive low-block. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY)

Costa Rica's low-block spelled trouble

"Listen, if you play a game of percentages or law of averages, we're creating more and more high-quality chances, and we're getting numbers into key areas — we're getting touches in the key areas," Hayes told reporters after the match, calling attention to Costa Rica's strong defensive low-block.

"The last part's the hardest part. And I'm really patient, because I've coached teams that have to break blocks down, and it's the hardest thing to do in coaching," she continued.

Hayes also noted the team's lack of training time under her management: The decorated coach officially joined the US in early June after finishing the WSL season with her previous club, league champs Chelsea FC.

USWNT pose for a picture after their send-off friendly against costa rica at Audi Field
The USWNT's Olympic group stage run kicks off on July 25th. (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

Where to watch the USWNT's Olympic games

Tuesday's draw is just the second time the USWNT has entered a major tournament off a non-win. Back in 2015, the US embarked on their legendary World Cup campaign after a 0-0 send-off draw with South Korea.

The next time the USWNT takes the pitch will be at the Paris Olympics, where they'll play Zambia on Thursday, July 25th at 3 PM ET. The match will be broadcast live on USA, with streaming options available on Peacock.

The Late Sub Podcast: This Is Sophia Smith’s USWNT Attack Now

Sophia Smith dribbles during the USWNT's 1-0 win over Mexico on Saturday.
Sophia Smith scored the lone goal in the USWNT's 1-0 win over Mexico last Saturday. (Brad Smith/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

This week, JWS podcast host Claire Watkins breaks down the days leading up to the first USWNT Olympic send-off friendly, discussing player performances, things that worked well on the pitch, and what still needs developing as coach Emma Hayes's team moves towards a crucial Olympic competition set to will dictate the future of the team.

She then sets her sights on the WNBA, previewing WNBA All-Star Weekend and chatting with Gatorade Women’s Basketball Player of the Year Joyce Edwards alongside Dallas Wings forward Satou Sabally.

Subscribe to The Late Sub to never miss an episode.

Start your morning off right with Just Women’s Sports’ free, 5x-a-week newsletter.