USWNT vs South Africa summary: Rapinoe’s final game | score, goals and highlights
USWNT vs South Africa: the day Rapinoe said goodbye
Rapinoe says her goodbye
There's no way I couldn't give the final word to Megan, so here she is on the field after the victory saying her farewells to teammates and fans. What a career.
Thanks for joining me tonight, and we'll see you for more live coverage very soon.
USWNT 2-0 South Africa: match review
It was as comfortable a game as the USWNT could have expected and the only disappointment will have been that Megan Rapinoe's name wasn't added to the scoresheet.
The evening's captain had her moments, some slightly forced, like the free-kick from around 30 yards out, and contributed to a solid performance before her number went up just before the hour mark.
Rodman scored a lovely volley to open things up, after lovely work from Morgan on the right, and could have had a stunning second when she rattled the crossbar in the second half from distance. A less likely scorer, that of Sonnett, controlled a loose punch out from Diamini to head home the second and effectively kill the game.
As for Rapinoe. Her emotional celebrations will now continue into the night. Her legend will live on long, long after these boots are hung up. The new young stars that took part in the game have their bright futures ahead of them, and many of the rewards they reap will be thanks to the likes of Megan who went before them.
Peep, peep, peeeeep! It's all over.
Captain Megan Rapinoe's final game ends in victory.
South Africa get a couple of moments of possession to try to fashion an actual effort at goal but the US unit is just too solid and organised. It looks as though this will just peter out.
Four minutes being added here. Given the number of substitutes, that's hardly surprising.
DeMelo this time, trying to get on the end of the decent cross from the left. Yellow shirts block and Dlamini gathers.
Fishel has the crowd off their seats as she picks up a pass, following some nice exchanges, outside the area and goes for goal.
The youngster knows how to fill the onion bag but doesn't catch this one cleanly. There will be more ahead for her.
More pressure from the home side, and Williams gets an effort away from inside the box. A deflection is enough to take it wide for a corner.
Not much time remaining but I feel we are all set to have another 3-0.
Wow, just wow! Williams sets Purce away down the right touchline, tightly marked. But that cover is no bother as she shows Messi-like skills to flick the ball through the defender's legs and run inside her.
Extra cover moved across to snuff out the danger but that was lovely. I'll see if I can get you a little clip off it to enjoy.
What a run from Kgatlana, the US defenders trailling in her wake but the cut back across goal is smothered by Murphy who then attempts to start a quick break.
The visitors, who are the second ranked side in Africa behind Nigeria, would love even a consolation goal following the 3-0 loss on Thursday.
More changes, with the exciting Williams one of those being introduced, and the US step things up. Some slick interplay has the South Africans chasing shadows but the final pass evades its target and we'll start again.
Whether due to the second goal, the multiple substitutions on both sides, or the fact the star most people came to see has now departed, the intensity of this game has dropped somewhat.
We need someone to spark some life into it and get the crowd going again.
New kids on the USWNT block
The World Cup may have been a disappointment for the US but there is so much promise coming through, and some of them coming onto the pitch for a run out.
OFF: Sonnett, Alex Morgan, Dunn
ON: Mia Fishel, DeMelo, Emily Fox
South Africa make a rare trip forwards and win a corner. From that Kgatlana gets a couple of half chances to cause Murphy problems but the blue shirts get in the way and the US bring the ball away.
Looks like a bunch of interesting changes about to happen here.
Rodman destroys crossbar
What a hit!! Rodman picks up the ball and drifts towards the edge of the 18-yard box. There are players offering themselves either side of her but the 21-year old is clearly feeling confident and lets fly.
Arrowing towards the top corner, and a diving Dlamini beaten all ends up, the ball clatters off the crossbar and away from danger. I think the frame of the goal is still shaking.
Rapinoe says goodbye
There it is. The moment we all knew was coming but not exactly when.
Midge Purce comes on to replace the legend, and there are a lot of emotional hugs being handed out as she heads to the sidelines.
Close!! Rapinoe almost has a dream ending with a free-kick that scrapes over the roof of the net. Half the crowd scream in delight as it does look from some angles to have gone in.
GOAL!!! Sonnett heads home
On her 79th appearance she's not someone that gets on the scoresheet often but guides a perfectly weighted header back into the goal after Dlamini half-punches away a strong Rapinoe corner.
Surely we can hand her an assist for that!
The early pattern to the half is much like the first, and the US build slowly then pick up the pace and threaten. The cross from deep is looking for Horan but doesn't drop in time.
South Africa get us going for the second half, shooting right to left from my vantage point.
OK, back to the game...
Another related query is over Rapinoe's tattoo collection, and they're harder to remove that the pink dye on her hair, not that she'd want to given their meaning.
A few days ago I put ink to paper on the background to Megan's body art, and was surprised by a number of the things I found out.
Given she's all blonde tonight, some discussion has been about where the pink and blue has gone, and why it sometimes would make an appearance.
Victor and Kieran splashed some colourful insight on that.
Morgan to Rodman and goal
As we get ready for the second half, let me answer a couple of questions I've picked up in the break from the action...
OK, so there is certainly a feel of this being a friendly, but it's not so uncompetitive to be dull. South Africa are battling hard to make things as difficult as possible for their more illustrious hosts and any victory, one that we certainly expect, will have to be deserved.
There have been a number of chances for the USWNT but none of any real worth going the other way. And when the goal came, it was a cracker, Morgan lifting it over for Rodman to bury in style (see below).
As for tonight's star attraction, Rapinoe has had her moments, a couple more forced than would have been if this was a competitive fixture, I'd bet.
Peeep! It's halftime and things are going pretty well for the hosts.
Wide on the left, the captain delivers an inswinger which Morgan meets with her head, but she can't direct it goalwards.
We're going to have an extra two minutes here, and Rapinoe has a free kick to put a gloss on the half.
Brilliant pressing from Krueger knocks the ball loose to Rapinoe. She's knows it's in the script for her to get on the scoresheet and tries her luck from a long way out.
Dlamini is far enough off her line to have people thinking but the ball flies over the bar. Decent idea.
We've had a small interruption for an injury but we're back in action and Megan-mania is ramped up as Sullivan gets into a great position coming in deep on the left.
Rapinoe positions herself near the penalty spot, away from any markers, but her teammate can't pick her out. She'd have surely buried it if so.
Gooooaa....no! Rapinoe appears to have an assist to her name but is flagged for offside as she collects the ball wide on the left.
Her pinpoint cross is tapped home by Morgan but it won't count.
That assistant ref with the raised arm is getting quite a bit of noise from the nearby fans. I think they wanted her to turn a blind eye to that decision.
Chance! Excitement again as Rodman scampers away down the right and fires a low cross into the danger area.
Horan is closest with Rapinoe further back but the yellow shirts do well to cover and clear. A second goal can't be far away.
The free kick must be about 30 yards from goal, surely way too far for Megan to take it on directly.
It appears I'm wrong, and the captain is taking the advice of the crowd to give it a whack towards goal and see what happens...
She does, and the result is high and over the bar. Goal kick.
Rapinoe drops into space and tries a first time cut into the forward running Rodman, but it's intercepted and knocked away.
Free-kick though for a foul just a moment before.
Both wings appear productive avenues for the US to expose and Dunn down the left has time and space to pick out a cross.
Another option was to hoof it out of play and that's indeed the one she chose on this occasion.
That goal has lifted the already positive vibes and a couple more openings have almost appeared since.
Rodman is on her toes ready for every potential through ball.
Rodman opens the scoring
Boom! What a strike!
Another goal for Rodman as Krueger send Morgan into the right channel and her chip across goal is met on the volley.
Lovely, lovely stuff.
As the chants of "Oh, Megan Rapinoe" ring out around Soldier Field, Krueger delivers a tasty cross from wide on the right, looking for the short blond locks of her captain, who just can't reach it.
South African finally beginning to remind us that they are here and Kgatlana drives her team forward with some menace. Enough blue shirts get in and around them though and the hint of danger extinguished.
It's worth remembering that the USWNT is currently sitting third in the world rankings. Sweden and Spain, the recent World Cup winners, are ahead.
More pressure building after a lull and Alex Morgan goes close. Another scare for Dlamini and her back-line, who could well have a very busy evening.
One player who's been quite thus far is you know who.
The fans gave an even louder burst of energy as Horan lets fly with a tremendous volleyed effort from just outside the area.
It appears to have Dlamini concerned but it scoots just over the crossbar and we move on.
First meaningful effort and it comes from the right foot of Rapinoe, whipping in a corner from the left. A little excitement from the crowd but it's cleared fairly comfortably.
Early passage of play sees the blue shirts of the US knock the ball around neatly, into the final third and back out again.
If I was a betting man, I'd say that much of the build up will have a certain Californian focus to it. Let's see.
Peeeeeep! We're off
Rapinoe leads team out
You can just feel the emotion building but now it is time for us to focus. All of us. There's a game to be played so let's get stuck in...
In just a few minutes, Megan will lead out her national team for what will be the last time she plays for them. As well as the memories and accolades from her sporting endeavours, her aforementioned activism will no doubt continue apace, fighting for the rights of others.
Will digs in to the other side of Rapinoe.
Some fans have been getting ready for this game longer that Megan did her warm-up this evening. Check out these lovely home-made messages for our captain.
Hear the Rapinoe roar
Walking out for her warm up and the crowd was waiting to make their noise heard.
Just wait till they come out for real...
Don't tell me. As soon as you read the last post you wondered to yourself, "where did that name come from?"
Well, you'll be pleased to know that I'm here to save you a Google search, as the South Africa women's national football team's nickname "Banyana Banyana" literally translates to "Girls Girls," but such double use is often interpreted to mean "all the girls"
In the context of sport, it is also understood to mean "go girls, go girls". So it's like a rallying cry, all in the name. Neat, eh?
South Africa also playing
OK, I said I wouldn't apologise earlier for the major Rapinoe focus on tonight's game but I do feel a little bad for my lack of chat regarding the opposition tonight. Megan, after all, wouldn't have a final send off if it wasn't for them.
So, here is the starting line-up and substitutes for the Banyana Banyana, with Thembi "Pikinini" Kgatlana wearing the captain's armband.
Morgan may be one of the most familiar faces to appear on the grass with Rapinoe over recent years, but there is another women who is rather close off it.
And while Megan is one of the most recognisable female athletes in the United States and one of the most decorated American soccer players of all time, her fiancée, Sue Bird, has her own claim to be one of the country’s finest female team athletes.
Basketball star Bird is the only WNBA player to win a title in three different decades, winning the WNBA championship on four occasions. During her 20-year playing career she was named in the WNBA All-Star team 13 times and is regarded as one of the greatest players in league history.
Mr Gittens provides the low-down on Rapinoe's other half.
The Morgan and Rapinoe show
As we reflected on her career in that last article, one player that has been with Rapinoe for many of the international highs and lows has been Alex Morgan.
This afternoon she shared a message about their hugs, celebrations, trophies and tears together.
The men's game has an often circular debate, sometimes rather heated, over who is the greatest of all time: Pelé, Maradona, Ronaldo (either one), Messi... and there are others.
When it comes to the women, Rapinoe is in the conversation after 17 years with the USWNT and having delivered countless titles for both club and country. She played a key role in the all-conquering team that won two Women’s World Cups and an Olympic gold medal, as well as being one of the most recognisable and influential figures in the women’s game.
Our Will takes a look at the argument for Megan the GOAT.
Rapinoe starts as captain
...of course not! I was just teasing in the previous post.
Megan takes the armband for her big send off. And she has some very familiar faces around her.
Big, HUGE, surprise incoming with the starting line-up which has just been announced. After all the fanfare in the build-up to her last game could Rapinoe actually be left out????
Rapinoe is in the house
Here she comes, walking down the tunnel with that aforementioned swagger. Shades on, tunes on, full of focus.
It's going to be an emotional night in Chicago.
Megan has been speaking ahead of her farewell and is clear about the non-sporting contribution she and others have made.
“The off-field stuff is what is most meaningful (to me) and I think what I’m most proud of leaving this team and leaving the game,” she said. “Being so vocal about racial justice or gay rights, I feel like the team really stepped into it and took upon itself to be so much more of what we were on the field and really focus on that.”
“We’ve been a very special generation of players, but I think it says a lot about us that everything we’ve accomplished on the field pales in comparison to what we’ve done off the field.”
Naeher remembers Megan against Brazil
Alyssa Naeher from the Chicago Red Stars gets a little emotional about her teammate and friend.
I don't apologise for the focus on Rapinoe tonight. It's sort of why we're here.
Roll up, roll up, get your Megan Rapinoe farewell tickets. Actually, it's clearly a bit late for that now but here's the info in case it interests you.
According to the official website selling tickets for the match, prices to see Rapinoe and the US taking on South Africa at Soldier Field in Chicago range from $25 to $350.
That said, those attending the match will be able to purchase collector’s tickets at an additional cost of $14. The tickets will feature key moments in Rapinoe’s career, from her debut in 2006 to the finals of the 2015 and 2019 World Cups and her service with the USWNT.
You'll be delighted to know that you can stay with me here and be taken through the action for no cost whatsoever! What do you mean it's not the same!?
Rapinoe and serving it on a platter
"Thank you for all you've been on the field... and who you are as a person off the field.
...and bringing your own swagger."
Crystal Dunn adds her tribute to the woman of the moment.
South Africa: full roster
And here's the opposition selection:
16-Andile Dlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns FC), 1-Kaylin Swart (JVW FC), 21-Kebotseng Moletsane (Royal AM)
7-Karabo Dhlamini (Memelodi Sundowns FC), 5-Fikile Magama (UWC), 4-Faith Owusu (Blackburn Rovers, ENG), 2-Lebohang Ramalepe (Memelodi Sundowns FC), 14-Tiisetso Makhubela (Memelodi Sundowns FC), 15-Lonathemba Mhlongo (UWC), 3-Bongeka Gamede (UWC)
10-Linda Motlhalo (Glasgow City, SCO), 19-Kholosa Biyana (Memelodi Sundowns FC), 22-Nomvula Kgoale (TS Galaxy Queens), 20-Robyn Moodaly (JVW FC), 13-Sonoxolo Cesane (East Tennessee State, USA)
9-Gabriela Salgado (JVW FC), 12-Jermaine Seoposenwe (C.F. Monterrey, MEX), 6-Noxolo Cesane (UWC), 17-Melinda Kgadiete (Memelodi Sundowns FC), 23-Wendy Shongwe (University of Pretoria), 11-Thembi Kgatlana (Racing Louisville FC, USA)
USWNT: full roster
Let's check out the names that could get a run out this evening for the US... (club; caps/goals)
Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit; 1), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 14), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 96)
Alana Cook (OL Reign; 26/1), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 49/1), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 137/24), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage; 34/1), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC; 21/0), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars; 39/0), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign; 78/1), M.A. Vignola (Angel City FC; 1/0)
Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC; 4/0), Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC; 3/0), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 134/29), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 26/3), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 50/3)
Mia Fishel (Chelsea FC, ENG; 0/0), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 20/5), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC; 212/121), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 23/4), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 202/63), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit; 23/5), Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave FC; 0/0), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC; 7/0), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 56/17)
The Rapinoe tunnel
We can expect much more of this sort of thing after the game. What will be interesting is who Interim head coach lines up along her starting captain (surely Megan has to get the armband!) for this friendly.
Lynn Williams and Trinity Rodman will hope to add to their goal tally but we could well see a bit of a shake up with some more young blood being thrown in. Obviously the disappointing showing in the World Cup this summer has eyes focused on the next gen stepping up.
South Africa: Part II
If you're more of a Rapinoe fan and less of a follower of the goings on of the entire USWNT, you may not be aware that this evening's encounter is actually part II of a double-header against the SOuth Africans.
Given what happened on Thursday in the first bout -- Jeff brought the 3-0 triumph and Julie Ertz's career to its close -- it's fair to say that a comfortable win is again expected for the hosts.
What's that I hear? You want a montage of Rapinoe doing her stuff for the USWNT?
OK, then, I'm here to please... with a little help from the official social media team.
The setting for Rapinoe’s USWNT swan song is the legendary Soldier Field in Chicago.
Since her debut against the Republic of Ireland in July 2006, the now-38-year-old has always been ready to run through walls for the USWNT. She has established herself as a true Team USA great, despite the difficult moments she has also endured during her time in the team.
"All of a sudden, there was a World Cup for women. In the United States. And it was on TV. And huge crowds were showing up. And people were going crazy, painting their faces and wrapping themselves in the flag, It was just this wave that nobody saw coming."
My sister and I actually went to the semifinal against Brazil at Stanford Stadium, and it was probably one of the more transformative experiences of my life. You had 70,000 people showing up for a women's soccer game, and it was so electric and . well....
"Just, holy s***!
"This just wasn't supposed to happen, you know? I think you probably had thousands of girls in the stadium that day who went home and grabbed a ball
said, 'This is what I wanna do.
"It was finally possible to dream that big."
It's (almost) all about Megan
I should point out early doors that despite this being a game between 22 players, the focus of the attention on either side of the referee's multi-whistles -- you know, the peep, peep, and the peep, peep, peeeep to start and end the match respectively -- will be on one Californian girl.
Tributes have already been flooding in and here at AS USA we've also been working hard to bring you various insights into her world and career.
Before we get going, it's worth mentioning that some kind folk are actually offering images to accompany my written prose. Our Andy pulled together some useful information to help you find out what you need.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the United States Women's national team (henceforth the popularised 'USWNT') against the visitors from South Africa.
Although this may be just an international friendly as part of the long preparatory work ahead of next summer's Olympics, it is likely going to be remembered for something rather more significant. This is the game where US legend Megan Rapinoe says goodbye to her playing time with the Stars and Stripes.
My name is Calum and I'll be here to talk you through all the build-up to kick-off, the action throughout the game, and then the reaction that follows... which is sure to involve a tear or two.