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Rose Lavelle returns for OL Reign in quarterfinal victory

OL Reign forward Veronica Latsko and midfielder Rose Lavelle celebrate after their playoff win against Angel City FC at Lumen Field. (Steven Bisig/USA TODAY Sports)

Rose Lavelle made a triumphant return to action in OL Reign’s first NWSL playoff win since 2015.

The 28-year-old midfielder had not played for club or country since Sept. 3, but she came on as a substitute in the 64th minute of OL Reign’s 1-0 quarterfinal win over Angel City FC, relieving fellow midfielder Quinn.

“F— yeah,” Rapinoe said of Lavelle’s return. “That’s how I feel about it.”

In April, Lavelle picked up a knee injury that has nagged her throughout the 2023 season. While she joined the U.S. women’s national team at the 2023 World Cup, she has made just five appearances for OL Reign, including Friday’s playoff victory.

She played near full minutes in two matches late in the season, on Aug. 27 and Sept. 3, before that she had not played for the club since April 1.

While Lavelle was available if “desperately needed” in OL Reign’s regular-season finale, she remained on the bench for the playoff-clinching in. Head coach Laura Harvey was glad for the extra week of rest, which allowed Lavelle to make an impact as a substitute in the first postseason contest.

“I think Rose was not really ready last week and obviously getting her out there tonight was important for us,” Harvey said. “I felt that she made the difference.”

With Friday’s win, No. 4 seed OL Reign advances to the NWSL semifinals. They will face the No. 1 seed San Diego Wave at 9:30 p.m. ET Sunday, Nov. 5, with a spot in the 2023 NWSL Championship on the line.