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Rose Lavelle caps ‘frustrating year’ with ‘exceptional’ run for OL Reign

Nov 5, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; OL Reign midfielder Rose Lavelle (16) controls the ball in the second half against the San Diego Wave FC at Snapdragon Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Rose Lavelle has had an up-and-down year.

A lingering knee injury sidelined her for all but four regular-season NWSL games. The World Cup featured the earliest exit in USWNT history. But through it all, the 28-year-old midfielder has continued to fight her way back.

Lavelle played limited minutes – just 26 of them – in OL Reign’s first playoff game, a 1-0 win against Angel City FC on Oct. 20. But she played 82 minutes in Sunday’s 1-0 semifinal win over San Diego to help send the Reign to their first NWSL Championship appearance since 2015.

“Rosie is one of the best players in the world, there’s no question and she makes our team better, she always has done, and it’s been a really frustrating year for her with injuries,” head coach Laura Harvey said Sunday. “So to get back at this moment, she’s just something different. There’s no one like her.”

What Lavelle brings to the field is unmatched. She’s “so hard to defend,” according to Harvey, and makes the team’s dynamic different.

“She travels at pace with the ball like no one else,” Harvey continued. “And when we have her in our team, our dynamic is just different. Because we are solid we’re hard to play against. We don’t concede a lot of goals. I don’t know how many minutes it has been now since we haven’t conceded a goal. But you need different makers and we’ve relied upon a lot of people this year and unfortunately it hasn’t been Rose a lot. But you just saw tonight she’s exceptional. She’s world class.”