Star Player Missing From US Team at World Cup: Is Megan Rapinoe Benched?

By: Alec Donaldson | Last updated: Nov 03, 2023

While Megan Rapinoe may seem to be the all-star powerhouse of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, her talent was noticeably missing from the recent electrifying match against the Netherlands.

A beloved figure of the U.S. women’s team, her absence from the field left many fans shocked and confused.

Megan - MIA for Two Consecutive Games

In a surprising turn of events, Rapinoe was missing from the starting lineup of two matches:, Wednesday night’s face-off against the Netherlands, and Friday night’s match against Vietnam.

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Adding to the drama, the Netherlands game didn’t witness a Rapinoe comeback, even as the USWNT grappled to bounce back from a low point. Fans were left wondering if their heroine was sitting out this one.

Bench Mystery Solved: The Strategy Behind Rapinoe's Absence

While fans were left scratching their heads at Rapinoe’s surprising bench-time, this move wasn’t unexpected to all.

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In fact, Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated had already predicted this. Apstein reasoned that a combination of Rapinoe’s health concerns and the team’s decision to lean into a fresher, younger roster accounted for her lessened presence on the field.

Injury and Youth Takeover: The Double Whammy for Rapinoe?

Here’s the scoop. Rapinoe’s reduced playtime is partly due to her recent injuries, including a minor one in June. But, there’s another twist!

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The team’s decision to lean on fresh faces has also played a role. With 14 World Cup rookies and more players born after the 1999 World Cup, the USWNT seems to be ringing in the new age.

Rapinoe's Future: What's Next for the Soccer Superstar?

While we may not see Rapinoe as much as we’re used to this tournament, rest assured this is not the end. It’s merely a different chapter in her story and a new era for the team.

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So sit tight and cheer loud for our reigning queen and the fresh faces of the USWNT. More drama, action, and breathtaking soccer await us! Stay tuned.