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‘Don’t like each other’: Megan Rapinoe embracing OL Reign-Wave rivalry in potential final NWSL game

The tension is mounting as OL Reign heads to San Diego for a semifinals clash with the Wave FC this Sunday.

The Seattle-based team is determined to break its streak of near-misses and claim the NWSL championship that has eluded the team, despite making the playoffs every year since 2019.

With the stakes high, this match carries an additional weight as it could mark the end of an era. Megan Rapinoe, World Cup and Olympic champion, may be lacing up her cleats for her final NWSL game before retirement.

Rapinoe’s impact on the field was palpable during her last regular-season home game against the Washington Spirit on Oct. 6. The match drew more than 34,000 fans, setting a new league attendance record previously held by the Wave, and attracted 683,000 viewers on CBS Sports, becoming the second most watched game in league history, as reported by Axios Seattle.

Megan Rapinoe’s Reign have reason to enter the fray with confidence; they have beat the Wave in all four of their previous matchups this season. But the rivalry is more than just numbers.

“Oh, it’s gonna be a good one,” Rapinoe said regarding the upcoming semifinal. “We are not going to give away our game plan but, you know, we don’t like each other so much.”

Indeed, the game will be a showcase of talent, with OL Reign having sent more players to the 2023 Women’s World Cup than any other NWSL team. Among them are stars such as Rose Lavelle, Alana Cook, Emily Sonnett and Sofia Huerta. On the opposing side, San Diego boasts its own cadre of world-class talent including Alex Morgan and Kailen Sheridan, the reigning NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year and a strong candidate for the award again this season.

The undercurrent of these high-profile individual matchups adds to the drama, with San Diego aiming to leverage its No. 1 seed status and NWSL Shield victory. Meanwhile, Reign’s own Laura Harvey, in the spotlight as a possible next coach for the USWNT, is focusing on guiding her squad to ultimate victory.

There are just four teams left in the NWSL playoffs. The Thorns, who beat the North Carolina Courage with a 2-0 quarterfinals victory, will face NJ/NY Gotham FC. The Wave, eager to avenge their semifinals defeat last year to the Thorns—who went on to claim the championship—have their sights set on a different outcome this time.

As the NWSL Championship approaches on Nov. 11, all eyes will be on San Diego, the chosen host city. Whether OL Reign or the Wave emerge victorious this weekend, the battle for the championship will unfold on Wave’s home turf in what could be a fitting farewell to one of soccer’s most influential figures.

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