Megan Rapinoe Discusses ‘Dark Comedy’ Of Missed PK That Low-lighted Frustrating USWNT Loss, Her Final World Cup Match

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The USWNT will not play in the quarterfinals at the World Cup for the first time ever. In fact, the United States has never lost a match in the knockout stages short of the semifinals.

It came down to a matter of inches— if that.

As a result of the inability to capitalize on multiple opportunities, and VAR review, the United States will return home. The three-time reigning champions will not complete the four-peat.

Unfortunately, the better team may not have won on Sunday. Sweden did not look good outside of its keeper, Zećira Mušović, who played out of her mind.

On the flip side, the Americans played their best match of the tournament. They looked great. The chances were plentiful. Time of possession leaned heavily in their favor.

The United States had 22 shots, with 11 on target. Sweden had nine, with just one on target.

Trinity Rodman was pushing the pace. Sophia Smith was getting her touches and creating offense. Lindsay Horan had two phenomenal shots on goal that would have been the difference.

Julie Ertz was flying around like a banshee. Naomi Girma was remarkable on the back line. Alyssa Naeher silenced any doubt in net.

All of the pieces were there. Everything lined up for the USWNT to advance.

And yet, the result went in the other direction. It was heartbreaking and frustrating.

The U.S. Women are out.

Sunday’s match against Sweden, the third-ranked team in the world, was the longest in World Cup history. It went to the seventh round of penalty kicks and the Americans had three separate opportunities to put it away during the do-or-die period.

Megan Rapinoe subbed on in the 99th minute and replaced Alex Morgan, one of the better peno-takers on the team. She stepped up to the spot on the heels of Sweden’s first miss with a chance to put the Americans in the lead. Her effort was abysmal and did not even require a save. It sailed over the bar.

Had Rapinoe made her kick, it would have been over. Instead, the match continued.

Her disappointment was evident.

Megan Rapinoe of USA looks dejected after missing her penalty during the penalty shoot out of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Round of 16 match between Winner Group G and Runner Up Group E at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on August 6, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia.
(Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images)

However, her reaction quickly turned to something of laughter and shock toward the circumstances.

Megan Rapinoe #15 of the United States reacts to missing her penalty kick during the penalty kick shootout during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Round of 16 match between Sweden and the United States at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on August 06, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia.
(Photo by Robin Alam/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

Naeher then made a huge save to put the U.S. up 3-2.

Smith had the chance to end it after Rapinoe’s miss and Naeher’s save.

She also sent her attempt over the bar. It was a poor effort as well.

The keeper went in the other direction and Smith didn’t come close.

That put the pressure back on Sweden, which did not miss again. Kelly O’Hara, on the other hand, later missed her attempt off of the post.

O’Hara’s blunder ultimately opened the door for what became the match-winner and the U.S. lost.


Had Rapinoe, Smith or O’Hara made their kicks, the result may have swung in the other direction. At the very least, it would have gone to an eighth round.

A reevaluation period is necessary.

Manager Vlatko Andonovski spoke about the loss and said that he was proud of his team. He should be, to an extent.

The United States played its best match of the tournament. They should have won. But they didn’t.

Andonovski said that his squad practiced penalty kicks all summer. He was confident in the lineup he sent out to do what it needed to do.

They just didn’t have it on Sunday.

Horan also spoke highly of her teammates and praised their courage in penalty kicks.

Ertz shared similar sentiments.

All three, Ertz, Horan and Andonovski talked about how well they played against Sweden. That was true. They also addressed the reoccurring theme— an inability to finish.

The USWNT couldn’t find the net.

At the end of the day, all that matters is finding the back of the net. A team cannot win without scoring.

The USWNT did not score. That is unacceptable by the lofty standards that have been set by the three-time, three-straight World Cup winning women.

They know that. We, as fans, know that.

Sunday’s early exit is a let down for an entire nation and it came down to an inability to finish.

Historically, the United States has won matches by scaring opponents into submission. They dominate. They are relentless.

That was not the case this year up until the Round of 16.

The opening win over Vietnam was a lot closer than it should have been. A draw against the Netherlands was a fine result, but lacked inspiring energy. A draw against Portugal was unacceptable.

The United States could have avoided Sweden if its group stage results had been more impressive. It barely reached the Round of 16 at all.

And then, even after sneaking into the knockout stage and playing well against Sweden, they lost.

A team that has received a lot of criticism for the manner in which it carries itself did not get the job done. Plain and simple.

They arrived with a swagger that was deserved based on prior World Cups. However, after the first three results of the 2023 tournament, the chip on their shoulder was a little less sharp.

It was loose.

Rapinoe and Alex Morgan arrived with confidence.

It ended in tears.

There are a lot of questions left unanswered.

Can the U.S. run a 4-3-3 without the players to dominate in such a system? Who will return in 2027? What will that team look like? Where do they go from here?

One thing is for certain—

Megan Rapinoe’s USWNT career is over.

Rapinoe, love her or hate her, is one of the greats in terms of on-field accomplishments.

She is now officially retired from international competition. Her time with the United States is over.

Sunday was her final game and it ended in utmost disappointment.

Rapinoe’s miss was gut-wrenching. O’Hara and Smith will also bear the burden of a PK miss, but expectations for their attempts were not as high as that of their elder forward.

Rapinoe missed. She shanked it over the bar. Sweden’s keeper didn’t have to make a save.

While speaking to the miss after the match, through a smug grin of frustration, Rapinoe called it a “sick joke” and “dark comedy.”

Her full quote was more reflective of the entire match.

Rapinoe’s final match ended with one of the biggest letdowns of her career. Although the result most certainly will not be placed entirely on her shoulders, the miss was gut-wrenching.

A player who has been the hero in the past, and has used her platform to speak out on controversial topics through often disagreeable perspectives, went out in the worst way possible. Or, as Rapinoe put it: “dark comedy.”

Written by Grayson Weir

Grayson doesn't drink coffee. He wakes up Jacked.


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  1. Crazy idea but maybe, just maybe, we could shake up the roster now and get some women who actually LIKE the United States. That seems like it should sort of be a prerequisite for making the team.

  2. I wish this was the last we will see of old Megs for a while but I highly doubt it. Given the narcissist she is, she will step up her role as an “activist” and the boot-licking, Marxist, left-wing toady media will lap it up. Expect the female Kaepernick, with a few more actual accomplishments.

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