Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle connect on game-winning goal for USWNT

Rose Lavelle #16 (L) and Alex Morgan #13 of the United States celebrate the team's second goal scored by Lavelle at Audi Field on September 06, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

The U.S. women’s national team needed a jolt of energy after conceding their first goal in the run of play in 2022, with Nigeria equalizing in the 50th minute of the teams’ friendly in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

Enter Megan Rapinoe.

The 37-year-old checked into the game at the 65th minute, with the USWNT in need of a goal to break the 1-1 scoreline.

One minute later, and with only a handful of touches on the ball, Rapinoe sent a curled ball to Rose Lavelle waiting at the back post. Lavelle then nodded in a game-sealing header, catching the Nigeria keeper off balance to put the USWNT up 2-1.

The finish served as a critical rebound for the USWNT, whose shutout streak of 880 minutes was snapped by Nigeria just moments earlier.

In a chippy and challenging contest, Rapinoe’s late-game heroics offered the USWNT a fresh look on offense, further solidifying the veteran’s evolution from starter to game-changer.

Tuesday’s 2-1 victory caps off the USWNT’s pair of September friendlies against Nigeria and is the last match ahead of the squad’s historic Wembley Stadium fixture against England.