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NWSL Plays of the Week: Megan Rapinoe can’t be stopped

Megan Rapinoe (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The six NWSL matchups this week brought blowouts, bangers and upsets. Just Women’s Sports highlights the best of the action.

The Portland Thorns claimed the top spot in the standings following a tight 2-1 victory over the Washington Spirit, while Kansas City established itself as a playoff contender.

The Top Three NWSL Plays of the Week:

Megan Rapinoe’s Brace

Megan Rapinoe’s busy Sunday included a brace and an assist to lift OL Reign to a 4-1 thumping over Gotham FC.

The veteran striker made her mark on the match early, launching a throw-in into the path of a streaking Rose Lavelle, who one-timed the ball for the go-ahead goal.

Then, in the 42nd minute, Rapinoe did what she does best, burying a penalty kick from the spot to double OL Reign’s lead.

The last time Rapinoe missed a penalty during an NWSL match came four years ago in 2018. She holds a perfect record from the spot during the run of play in international competition. That gives Rapinoe a career penalty kick record of 17 for 18, excluding shootouts, according to ShePlaysNWSL,

The 37-year-old’s dominance continued into the second half, as she one-timed a rocket past the Gotham FC goalkeeper for her third goal in two games.

Never count out Rapinoe, who looks to be in top form once again.

Claire Lavogez’s game-winning Banger

The North Carolina Courage and Kansas City Current exchanged barbs in a thrilling offensive exchange Saturday.

The scoresheet was tied at 3-3 heading into the game’s final 10 minutes, with Kristen Hamilton, Lo’eau LaBonta and Cece Kizer getting on the board for Kansas City and Diana Ordóñez, Debinha and Kaleigh Kurtz scoring for the Courage.

Kansas City’s Claire Lavogez, who entered the match at the half, notched the decider in the 79th minute in thrilling fashion. The French midfielder dribbled up the spine of the pitch before ripping a top-shelf banger from outside the box to clinch the game for the Current, who are unbeaten in their last 10 matches.

Morgan Weaver’s stoppage-time heroics

The Washington Sprit’s Wednesday night matchup against the Portland Thorns was defined by chaos.

First, the Spirit got on the board in the 76th minute after a strange miscue from Thorns goalkeeper Bella Bixby. Portland responded minutes later with a frenzied close-range finish of their own.

Morgan Weaver, who entered the match in the 74th minute, took control of the game, scoring a stoppage-time winner in the 92nd minute. Dribbling through a series of Washington defenders, Weaver cut in from the flank before squaring up for a left-footed far-post laser.

The game-winner secured Portland’s place atop the NWSL standings, three points clear of the Houston Dash, San Diego Wave and Kansas City Current.