is arguably the most decorated player ever in the history of U.S. women's soccer -- the only player who has won Women's World Cup, Olympics, U-20 Women's World Cup, WPS, NWSL
and NCAA titles -- and surely one of the most popular, but her farewell game against Thailand Thursday in Columbus, Ohio, has been overshadowed by attention to whether Megan Rapinoe
continue her protest by kneeling for the national anthem. Heather O'Reilly: 'It just feels like the right time'
The local daily Columbus Dispatch presented
a long preview
on Thursday's game without ever mentioning O'Reilly. The story
centered around Rapinoe's stance, which the Dispatch noted will draw as much scrutiny as how the USA plays in its first post-Olympics game against Thailand.
Rapinoe kneeled in support of
the example of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick
before the Seattle Reign's NWSL game at Chicago, never had a chance to kneel against the Washington Spirit because the Spirit
owner Bill Lynch
switched things up and had the national anthem played before the teams entered the field, and she stood arm-in-arm with her Reign players before their home game against
Washington on Sunday, Sept. 11.
Rapinoe told reporters on Wednesday she was undecided about whether she will kneeling for the national anthem before the USA-Thailand game.
“It’s a very complex issue that needs to be looked at holistically,” she said. “It’s not just one person doing something wrong or one side doing something wrong.
Systematic oppression and racism and racial injustice in this country is what I’d like to talk about and that’s obviously very broad and multifaceted and nuanced and difficult, but I think
any conversation about it is better than none.”
U.S. women's national team coach Jill Ellis
said she supported Rapinoe's willingness to speak out about issues but expected
players to stand for the national anthem.
"Me, personally, in this environment for a national team, I don't disassociate playing for your country," Ellis said on Wednesday. "I think
that's a part of a national symbol. So in terms of standing for a national anthem, I think that's an expectation of a national team player." ROSTER UPDATE.
Only 19 players are on the U.S. roster for the Thailand game at MAPFRE Stadium. That's the 22 Olympians and alternates minus suspended Hope Solo
, as well as
and Mallory Pugh.
Brian is out after displaying concussion-like symptoms following an elbow to the head in the Houston Dash’s NWSL match against the
Boston Breakers on Sunday evening.
Pugh is with the U.S. U-20s, who tied South Korea, 0-0, on Wednesday night in the first game of the U-20 Women’s NTC Invitational, as she
continues her recovery from an ankle injury suffered during the Olympics. U.S. Roster: GOALKEEPERS (2):
(Chicago Red Stars), 22-Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride) DEFENDERS (7):
6-Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), 8-Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), 7-Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns),
11-Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), 5-Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City, 21-Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns) MIDFIELDERS (7):
17-Tobin Heath (Portland
Thorns), 19-Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), 10-Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), 3-Allie Long (Portland Thorns), 20-Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), 9-Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City),
15-Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign) FORWARDS (3):
16-Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), 13-Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), 12-Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars)