Can Megan Rapinoe get credit for her incredible crossing pass? It was Favre-to-Sharpe

I don’t know squat about soccer.  But coming at it from a basketball and football fan’s perspective, I think the wrong person is being lauded for the dramatic last minute goal that saved the US Women’s World Cup team’s bacon.

Everyone is talking about the spectacular finish to the play when Abby Wambach leaped and headed the ball into the goal.  Yeah, that was cool.  But I happened to tune in to the match just in time to see the play and what had me in awe was the preceding pass (or “cross” as they call it, I guess) from fellow US player Megan Rapinoe.

If you missed it, where have you been? But if you did, Rapinoe took the ball off a pass from her teammate, advanced it down the left side of the pitch, lifted her head for a moment, somehow spotted her teammate Wambach streaking toward the goal among a sea of Brazilians, put her head back down, squared the ball up with her toe, summoned everything she had in the waning seconds of a two plus hour match, and somehow launched a 60 yard, pinpoint perfect cross that found her teammate just where she needed to be found to execute her header.

Rapinoe put her kick on the head of a fucking needle from a different area code!  I could maybe execute Wambach’s end of the play if you gave me 100 chances — you could give me a month and a half of chances and I could not execute Rapinoe’s end. Never.

To me, her crossing pass was the equivalent of Favre to Sterls to pull out the 1993 NFC Wildcard game (its at the 2:33 mark), or Roger Staubach’s Minnesota Miracle in 1975 (its at the 2:03 mark).  Favre’s pass basically began the Brett Favre legend, and Staubach’s continued his.  And the difference was, neither Favre nor Staubach threw the ball with his off-hand. Rapinoe passed the soccer ball with her off-foot.

Yet, with that kind of brilliance, I still had to look up Rapinoe’s name for this post.  (Actually I had to look up Wambach’s too, to be honest… the only player I know is the one everyone who listens to the Jim Rome Show knows: Hope Solo.  He constantly plays the soundbite of her throwing her coach under an oncoming train four years ago.)

The point is, Rapinoe isn’t getting near the credit I think she deserves. And I feel doubly strong about that after I heard her post-game, basketballesque “beast in the air” quote after the game:

“I just took a touch and friggin’ smacked it with my left foot,” Rapinoe said. “I don’t think I’ve ever hit a ball like that with my left foot. I got it to the back post and that beast in the air just got a hold of it.”

That is great stuff.  She sounds like soccer’s Tim Hardaway.  But what a play she made. Lets give the girl some credit.


3 Responses to “Can Megan Rapinoe get credit for her incredible crossing pass? It was Favre-to-Sharpe”

  1. Devin Says:


    Wambach was in the right place at the right time, but her header was nothing out of the ordinary, nor was it even difficult to execute (well, not if you can play soccer). Rapinoe’s cross, on the other hand, is what created that goal. It was kicked from far outside the 18 yard box, had to drop in amongst four defenders and the keeper, and (as you noted) apparently kicked with her wrong foot.

    Having found myself in Rapinoe’s position many times over the course of my glorious recreational soccer career, I know that she won’t get the credit she deserves. Although she’ll still get more credit than basketball rebounding specialists get.

  2. jbrett Says:

    Dead on. It’s like throwing those passes you mentioned by punching the football, only harder.

  3. dtmeyers Says:

    I just noticed the post, and while I agree that the cross was perfect, she basically has two jobs: (1) put the ball somewhere the keeper cannot easily get to and (2) put it in a spot that a streaking striker can get to. Abby Wombach has to adjust to the ball and make sure she ends up getting to it as cleanly as possible (which helps to make the pass look as accurate as it is). To make this task all the harder, several defenders and the keeper are trying to accomplish the same task. I agree that Rapinoe’s cross is excellent, and being left footed makes it all the more impressive, but I think you are underplaying the difficulty of both winning the header and directing it into the goal.

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