Megan Rapinoe isn't starting against England and fans are scratching their heads
Megan Rapinoe, the star soccer player on the U.S. Women's National Team, is not in today's starting lineup against England.
In her place stands forward Christen Press.
Fans of the team are appropriately freaking out. It's the World Cup semifinal, after all.
The concern began about an hour before the game was due to start. The team tweeted its lineup, and Rapinoe — with five goals to her name so far — wasn't on it.
Then reports from the stadium began trickling out.
A CNN producer inside saw Rapinoe crouching from the sidelines while the rest of the squad was warming up to play.
She was seen occasionally talking with the team's staff, and was then seen cheering on her teammates when the starting line-up was announced.
The American star has been on a roll lately, so you have to wonder why.
But if you were to search for a scouting report on England's Lucy Bronze, you'll quickly discover two things.
- She's the best defender, maybe the best player, England has on their team
- And everyone was anticipating the Rapinoe versus Bronze matchup
So, a curveball? Either way, this much is clear: U.S. Women's National Team Coach Jill Ellis has taken Rapinoe out of the equation.
Momentarily, at least.
The decision could most certainly be tactical, with Press bringing more speed and defense than Rapinoe typically does.
"As good as Pinoe is, she doesn't contribute a lot defensively. Christen Press is the fastest and fittest player on the USWNT. England RB Lucy Bronze has been the best player at this tournament. So, that's why," theorized Kim McCauley, a sports reporter.
"Not hearing any indication that Rapinoe is injured, so this decision looks tactical with Ellis going for more speed/defensive cover with Press in Rapinoe's place. I would have preferred going 4-2-3-1 with Ertz on the left side of the 2 and keeping Rapinoe in the lineup," reporter Grant Wahl added to the collective pool.
As the game got underway, the announcer on Fox stated that there was speculation Rapinoe was injured -- but the team wasn't saying anything. As with all things with this team, TBD.
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