Megan Rapinoe: Dons cape against Gotham, makes retirement look a distant decision

Just days after saying she "needs some time to think" about her future, Rapinoe was the hero Gotham hates scoring two goals and assisting another on a spectacular return after the Olympics.

By Ken Browne
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Megan Rapinoe is back to doing what she does best:

Scoring goals, winning matches, being the difference.

Fresh from scoring two sensational goals in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics bronze-medal match with the United States women's football team, the 36-year-old was at it again with OL Reign on her return to club action.

With her team 2-0 down to Gotham FC in their NWSL encounter and just over half an hour to go, Rapinoe sparked a remarkable comeback by first whipping in a corner in the 57th minute for Kristen McNabb to power a header home.

Hope rising, next Rapinoe stepped up to smash an unstoppable penalty into the roof of the net on 77' for 2-2, then completed an incredible comeback for her team by winning and scoring another penalty in overtime.

It was a performance that proved that Megan Rapinoe still has a lot left in the tank despite telling ESPN she will "need some time" to think about her future career in the game just a few days earlier.

Rapinoe retirement: "I've been thinking about it a lot" caught up with 'Pinoe' in Tokyo right before she jumped on a charter plane home from the Tokyo Games and while she said at times it felt the USA team was "walking through mud," she was also very proud.

"It was hard off the field and hard for us on the field, much harder than it had to be," she said, "but in the end, we figured it out and we're going home with a bronze medal, and I'm super proud of that. I'm so proud of this team."

A few days later on ESPN's Spain and Fitz show Rapinoe was asked if she was going to follow Carli Lloyd into retirement.

"Just in terms of my whole career, I don't really know yet. I need to take some time to think about it," she shared.

"They always say, 'You'll know when you know,' but it's not really like that, because you could kind of keep going, and it's like 'Aw yeah, you've accomplished so much, you'll be fine stepping away.' But the conversation is always anguished in your mind. Or people just don't think about it.

"I've been thinking about it a lot."

She also said she needed to talk to her partner Sue Bird about it, Bird retired from the national basketball team after her fifth gold-medal win, but will continue playing for the Seattle Storm in the WNBA.

"You want to play forever"

Now 36, Rapinoe had nothing but kind words for Carli Lloyd:

"I feel like people just think play as long as you can and that's amazing - you want to play forever - but it's actually like, no, it is really hard to do that.

"There are so few athletes who play to her age (Lloyd is 39) or play as long as she has. It's not just about staying healthy and being able to physically be there, which is difficult in and of itself.

"It's about continually growing and making sure your game is evolving. For me, it's the fact she ended her career with an incredible brace in a medal match at the Olympics, just says it all. That's the sort of person Carli was. As productive as ever.

"...every medal match Carli played in she scored a goal. That's greatness. She's unbelievable. Showing up in the biggest moments, that's what you want from your biggest players."

Greatness is a word you can use in the same sentence as Megan Rapinoe too, and after that performance against Gotham, the decision to continue seems pretty simple.