On a night when the game was more or less beside the point, Rapinoe knelt, Hope stayed away, Heather O’Reilly said goodbye, and oh, by the way, the U.S.A. clobbered Thailand 9-0 in Columbus.
The most dramatic action of the evening took place before the kickoff when Megan Rapinoe knelt on the sideline as the Star Spangled Banner played at MAPFRE Stadium.
Rapinoe took a knee in support of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose refusal to stand for the U.S. national anthem has sparked controversy as well as a discussion on race relations in this country.
Following the game, U.S. Soccer released this statement: “Representing your country is a privilege and honor for any player or coach that is associated with U.S. Soccer’s National Teams. Therefore, our national anthem has particular significance for U.S. Soccer,” the statement read. “In front of national and often global audiences, the playing of our national anthem is an opportunity for our Men’s and Women’s National Team players and coaches to reflect upon the liberties and freedom we all appreciate in this country. As part of the privilege to represent your country, we have an expectation that our players and coaches will stand and honor our flag while the national anthem is played.”
With that backdrop, Heather O’Reilly faced an uphill battle to get her due as she played the last match of her glorious international career. But it was just over one minute into the match that O’Reilly reminded the MAPFRE Stadium crowd that there was drama to be found on the field too when she delivered one her patented crosses for Carli Lloyd to head home.
Three minutes after O’Reilly teed up Lloyd, Lloyd turned provider setting up Christen Press for the second U.S. goal before O’Reilly got her final international goal on an assist from Lloyd.
It was part of a remarkable stat line for Carli Lloyd that saw the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year finish with a personal tally of three goals and four assists on the night.
O’Reilly steps away from the U.S. WNT having totaled 47 goals in 231 games but the winger has let it be known that she will continue to play on next season in the NWSL with her Kansas City FC club.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 4 5 9
THA 0 0 0
USA – Carli Lloyd (Heather O’Reilly) 1st minute
USA – Christen Press (Carli Lloyd) 4
USA – Heather O’Reilly (Carli Lloyd) 5
USA – Tobin Heath (Carli Lloyd) 36
USA – Carli Lloyd 60
USA – Crystal Dunn (Becky Sauerbrunn) 70
USA – Carli Lloyd (Lindsey Horan) 81
USA – Alex Morgan (Carli Lloyd) 86
USA – Alex Morgan 90+2
USA: 22-Ashlyn Harris; 5-Kelley O’Hara, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 8-Julie Johnston (16-Crystal Dunn, 64), 11-Ali Krieger (7-Meghan Klingenberg, 46); 3-Allie Long (21-Emily Sonnett, 46), 20-Samantha Mewis (19-Lindsey Horan, 46), 10-Carli Lloyd; 9-Heather O’Reilly (capt.), 12-Christen Press (13-Alex Morgan, 46), 17-Tobin Heath (15-Megan Rapinoe, 46)
Subs not used: 18-Alyssa Naeher
Head Coach: Jill Ellis
THA: 18-Yada Sengyong, 2-Kanjanaporn Saenkhun, 4-Duangnapa Sritala (capt.), 6-Pikul Khueanpet, 7-Silawan Intamee (20-Wilaiporn Boothduang, 82), 9-Warunee Phetwiset, 10-Sunisa Srangthaisong, 11-Alisa Rukpinij (17-Anootsara Maijarern, 65), 12-Rattikan Thongsombut (21-Kanjana Sung-ngoen, 46), 13-Orathai Srimanee (8-Naphat Seesraum, 65), 19-Pitsamai Sornsai (23-Nisa Romyen, 82)
Subs not used: 1-Waraporn Boonsing, 3-Natthakarn Chinwong, 5-Ainon Phancha, 14-Thanatta Chawong, 16-Khwanruedee Saengchan
Head Coach: Spencer Prior
Stats Summary: USA / THA
Shots: 32 / 7
Shots on Goal: 16 / 4
Saves: 2 / 7
Corner Kicks: 6 / 0
Fouls: 6 / 3
Offside: 4 / 0
USA – Lindsey Horan (caution) 90th minute