Megan Rapinoe’s farewell tour hit a special location Saturday night: Portland.
Rapinoe, the OL Reign winger, is set to retire at the end of the season, and every away game marks an emotional moment. But few cities mean as much to Rapinoe, who played college soccer at the University of Portland and then became one of the cities’ biggest villains as the Reign developed an epic rivalry with the Portland Thorns.
When Rapinoe was subbed out in the Reigns’ 2-0 loss to the Thorns, she received a standing ovation from Providence Park.
“I have to go quick, or I’m going to start crying,” Rapinoe told reporters after the game, in reference to the ovation. “I’ve been trying to impress people in Portland since I was 18. So you know, to play college here and have so many amazing memories. You know, even the rivalry. These are always the very best games.
“So, even when you’re on the losing end, like tonight, this really sucks but it’s always really special playing here.”
👏 @PDXRivetersSG pic.twitter.com/SkC7uXh960— Sarah (@DasGherkin) September 17, 2023
👏 @PDXRivetersSG pic.twitter.com/SkC7uXh960
Rapinoe played at Portland alongside her twin sister, Rachael, who still lives in Portland. At Providence Park, Rapinoe was greeted by a giant sign that read: “bye, Rachael’s sister.”
“Oh my god. It was so cute,” Rapinoe said. “I was literally cracking up, it was well done Portland.”
Rapinoe was grateful for the big crowd for what was likely her final game in one of the sport’s most epic rivalries.
“I have so much love and respect for the fans here and how they show up for their team and obviously, I have a lot of good friends on the other team,” she said.