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Rose Lavelle ‘disappointed’ to miss USWNT knockout game on cards

(Brad Smith/USSF/Getty Images)

As the U.S. women’s national team prepares for their Round of 16 matchup at the 2023 World Cup, they’ll do so without a key player: Rose Lavelle.

Lavelle picked up a yellow card for the second straight game in the USWNT’s 0-0 draw with Portugal on Tuesday, requiring her to sit out the team’s next game. The midfielder’s absence is a big blow for the U.S., who looked marginally better in the last two games with Lavelle on the field.

“[Portugal] gave us a really good game. They made it frustrating for us,” Lavelle told FOX Sports. “We’re disappointed in ourselves, but we have another game to focus on. We made it through.”

Lavelle returned to the field at this World Cup after sitting out since April with a knee injury. The U.S. coaching staff had limited her minutes to start the tournament as she built her fitness back up.

The USWNT offense continues to look for answers after failing to capitalize on 17 shots — and six on goal — against Portugal. They will miss Lavelle’s creativity and distribution in the midfield in their Round of 16 matchup, most likely against Sweden, but the 28-year-old plans to contribute in other ways.

“We can control our energy. I think that’s going to be big,” she said. “I’m disappointed in myself for getting the yellow and not being able to help the team next game, but I think there’s other ways off the field I can help the team, and that’s what I’ll do. … We’re getting the chances, but it’s that final bit of ruthlessness in putting it away.”

Kelley O’Hara acknowledged Lavelle’s frustration after the Portugal game, giving her a hug and a message of inspiration.

“I just wanted her to know how much her presence on the field tonight had such an impact,” O’Hara said she told Lavelle. “Her energy and her fight and her aggressiveness and just her flair. Everything about her was huge for us and I don’t want her to forget that.”