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Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle remain on bench for World Cup send-off

The USWNT is vying for a third straight World Cup title in 2023. (Maciek Gudrymowicz/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

While the U.S. women’s national team won its sendoff game Sunday vs. Wales, a number of stars failed to make an appearance.

Julie Ertz, Rose Lavelle and Megan Rapinoe did not see any action in the 2-0 victory. While Ertz played the full 90 minutes in each of her last three matches with Angel City, Lavelle has not played since April with a knee injury, and Rapinoe has been out since June 10 with a calf injury.

USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski said after the match that the three players are “all healthy” and cleared to play, framing their absences as precautionary.

“Julie, actually, is a little bit further ahead of both Rose and Pinoe,” he said. Ertz returned to the USWNT in April after giving birth to her son Madden in August 2022.

“The way I would put it for Julie was, if this was a World Cup game or meaningful game, it’s a no brainer,” Andonovski continued. “[It’s] not in question that she can play.”

Both Lavelle and Rapinoe, he noted, are in “the buildup stage.”

“They’re healthy, they’re medically cleared, and now it’s just getting them physically ready to play minutes,” he said.

Rapinoe, 38, announced her plans to retire from soccer at the end of the NWSL season, which will make the upcoming tournament her fourth and final World Cup.