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Megan Rapinoe on OL Reign playoff woes: ‘Football’s a little cruel sometimes’

(Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports)

OL Reign fell short of the NWSL Championship once again Sunday with a 2-0 loss to the Kansas City Current.

The NWSL Shield winners have made four straight trips to the semifinals dating back to 2018, but they haven’t advanced past that point. The franchise has yet to win an NWSL title despite finished as runner-up twice, in 2014 and 2015.

The team went down 1-0 in the semifinal after Alex Loera notched a goal in the fourth minute and never recovered.

“Obviously going down that early is never good, but I didn’t feel like we were really too stressed about it,” Megan Rapinoe said. “We felt like we had a lot of chances. I think our quality on the ball and in both boxes wasn’t there.”

While OL Reign had a season worthy of an appearance in the championship match, coach Laura Harvey said the team “lacked quality” in Sunday’s game when it counted.

“We are a very honest group with each other and at the end I was honest with them to say that I truly believe that over the course of the season, do we deserve to get closer to that championship? Yes,” she said. “But on tonight’s game, did we deserve to be in the championship? No.”

Of course, Kansas City goalkeeper AD Franch didn’t do OL Reign any favors. She pitched her third playoff shutout, tying the league record.

“AD was off her head today,” Rapinoe said. “Unbelievable saves.”

Still, Rapinoe echoed Harvey’s sentiments about whether the team deserved to advance to the championship based off Sunday’s performance. While OL Reign still has “much to be proud of,” the forward called the loss a “tough one to take.”

“Football’s a little cruel sometimes,” she said. “I feel like I don’t even really know if we deserve more out of the game. I think we didn’t really take our chances and impose ourselves on the game. Obviously, just very disappointing.

“Tough moment for us, especially playing the way that we’ve been playing and having the season that we have had.”