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Rapinoe's Lyon close to completing near-perfect season
by Paul Kennedy, May 22nd, 2013 7:52PM

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TAGS:  france, women's national team


[UEFA WOMEN'S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Americans will be represented in both Champions Leagues being played this week in London. Former U.S. U-17 Nevin Subotic is expected to start for Borussia Dortmund against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final on Saturday at Wembley, while Megan Rapinoe should start for Lyon in its bid for its third straight Women's Champions League title against Wolfsburg Thursday at Chelsea's Stanford Bridge.

Lyon is the overwhelming favorite to win the European women's crown. It is 21-0-0 in the French league with a goal margin of -- get this -- 129-5 and it's 8-0-0 in the Champions League with a margin of 40-1. Only one of the 29 wins was by a margin of only one goal -- 1-0 over Paris St. Germain in the French league --  and only three were by margins of two goals.

In all, Lyon has won 33 of 34 official matches it has played in 2012-13 by a margin of 215-6. (It also won the unofficial international women's club championship in November with a pair of wins over Japanese clubs.)

OL's only blemish was a tie with Montpellier in the semifinals of the French Women's Cup it won in a disputed shootout. The French federation rejected its offer to replay the game -- and keep its perfect record intact -- after the referee disallowed the goal by Montpellier's Japanese star Rumi Utsugi in the shootout. TV replays showed the ball had crossed the line after hitting the post and bouncing against the Lyon keeper's arm. Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, Montpellier president Louis Nicollin and French federation president Noel Le Graet all wanted to replay the game but an appeals committee ruled Montpellier's protest after the game was too late.

Rapinoe joined Lyon in January and has scored two goals in five league games and two goals in four Champions League games.

She has not been an automatic choice in a team that features French national team stars Louisa Necib, Camille Abily, Elodie Thomis, Sonia Bompastor and Eugenie Le Sommer as well as Sweden's Lotta Schelin and Japan's Shinobu Ohno.

Rapinoe, who is expected to join the NWSL's struggling Reign FC after Lyon's season, has said she's open to the idea of returning to Lyon next season.

If she wins Thursday, she'd be the first American to lift the UEFA Women's Champions League trophy since Ali Krieger and Gina Lewandowski won with FFC Frankfurt in 2008.



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