Megan Rapinoe celebrates scoring a goal at the FIFA Women's World Cup on June 24, 2019 in Reims, France.
With the game and Team USA’s future in the Women’s World Cup on the line, captain Megan Rapinoe delivered.
The two-time Olympian scored on a penalty kick for the second time in the game in the 76th minute to end a deadlock with Spain. The goal proved to be the match winner in a 2-1 victory. With that, the U.S. survived a bit of a scare and will now face France in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Prior to Rapinoe’s winning goal, however, it was anyone’s game.
The matchup wasn’t supposed to be the challenge that it was for the U.S. The Americans won Group F without allowing a goal and landed the Round of 16 match against Spain, a solid side but one competing in the World Cup for just the second time.
Rapinoe scored seven minutes in on a penalty kick to give the U.S. the lead against the underdogs and it seemed they might be once again off and running.
Two minutes later, however, Spain evened things up. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher had control of the ball and gently tapped it forward to Becky Sauerbrunn, but she was covered, and it led to a quick turnover in front of the net. Spain’s Jennifer Hermoso took the shot with Naeher in a bad position to make the stop and tied the game in the ninth minute, 1-1.
That ended a shutout streak of 647 minutes and was the first goal the U.S. allowed all tournament.
Both teams would fight to get the next goal from that point on. Spain proved to be physical, fast and aggressive and up until Rapinoe’s second penalty kick of the game, a shot by Rose Lavelle in the 60th minute that sailed just over the net was the closest the U.S. came to regaining the lead.
It was Lavelle who drew a foul in the box, leading to the winning penalty kick. Initially Alex Morgan lined up to take the shot, but after a lengthy review that confirmed the award, Rapinoe stepped forward. She put the shot low to the left corner, in the very same spot where she scored the first goal, to put the U.S. ahead.