Megan Rapinoe handed first red card in her career

Saturday's OL Reign-Angel City FC game in Seattle was another NWSL match marred by physical play and concerns about player safety.

There were 29 fouls, eight yellow cards and one red card. Amazingly, the first issued in the 2022 regular season.

Megan Rapinoe was sent off for the first time in her pro career when she picked up a red card for her second yellow card, issued for dissent, in the Reign's 1-0 win.

OL Reign vs. Angel City FC: Twitch broadcast

Rapinoe, who will join the U.S. women's national team for its preparations ahead of the Concacaf W Championship, started her first game this season for OL Reign and picked up her first yellow card in the 58th minute for encroachment on a free kick. She left the game in the 72nd minute and two minutes later was shown her second card by referee Karen Callado.

The red card was her first in 176 games with six teams in four leagues in a pro career that began in 2009. She's never been ejected in 187 USWNT matches.

Her outburst came after teammate Bethany Balcer was injured in a heavy collision for a loose ball with Angel City's Paige Nielsen, who was given a yellow card on the play.

With Balcer still on the ground, the smiling Rapinoe exited the field but not before she changed course to receive handshakes from the Reign substitutes warming up behind the goal (photo).

Balcer finally got back up and tried to continue to play, but she slumped to the ground in pain again and exited in the 76th minute.

After the match, Reign coach Laura Harvey told the Seattle Times: “I felt it was a consistent theme throughout the game that both benches, both sets of players, were concerned about the safety of their teammates."
Friday, June 17
Washington 2 Racing Louisville 2. (Goals: Rodman 34, Elwell 43; Nadim 66, 88. Att.: 2,790.)
Saturday, June 18
OL Reign
1 Angel City FC 0.  (Goal: Balcer: 31. Att.: 6,367.)
Kansas City 2 Chicago 2. (Goals: Hamilton 8, Kizer 68; Kowalski 53, Pugh 59 pen. Att.: 6,848.)
Standings | Statistical Leaders

Photo: Imago via ZUMA Press/ISI Photos

19 comments about "Megan Rapinoe handed first red card in her career".
  1. Bob Ashpole, June 19, 2022 at 8:18 a.m.

    I don't understand how being upset about an injury translates into dissent on the bench. She was a substituted player. Clearly something is missing from this story. Unsporting behavior I could see as a possibility, but dissent? What decision did she disagree with? This story makes no sense.

  2. Bob Ashpole replied, June 19, 2022 at 8:26 a.m.

     By the way the photo clearly contradicts the story, which doesn't help.

  3. Santiago 1314 replied, June 19, 2022 at 9:21 a.m.

    If both sets of Players were worried about "each others" Safety, Instead of Only THEIR Teammates Safety (Sounds Like due to Poor Referring) then why didn't the Captains get together and "Throttle It Back".???... Maybe they should Turn Themselves Into the "Inquisition Committee" ... I mean these are the League that is  "Better than Thou"... Where is the "Self-examination".???

  4. Michael In Bruges replied, June 19, 2022 at 10:34 a.m.

    Dissent from a substituted player is still a YC offense. It doesn't have to only be from players on the pitch. 

  5. Jim Paglia replied, June 19, 2022 at 12:29 p.m.

    I agree. This is just a poorly written/reported story. In the excitement to report the significance of the send off, the reporter decided getting the whole story wasn't significant. 

  6. frank schoon replied, June 19, 2022 at 12:36 p.m.

    Bob, Santi, check this out out..This is what I think youth coaches should be able to do and demonstrate....This is not difficullt and this is another reason why I think coaches with are defender backround do nothing for the creativity of youth players.

    Look some of what he does is not necessary to have but the total package what kids see during  their developmental years will get them excited and that is what youth developmental is all about....

    Helges Finter - Fotboll 2000 - YouTube

  7. Victor Mathseon, June 19, 2022 at 9:26 a.m.

    Bob, what are you talking about? What is so hard to imagine about a bench player yelling insults at a referee after a hard foul? That's dissent all day long. It happens all of the time and quite frankly should probably be dealt with with cards more often.

    As for the picture, it doesn't contradict anything. It could easily be of Rapinoe at a different point of the match. Or it is also not that uncommon for players to respond to red card with a sarcastic laugh, smile, and handclap at a referee who they feel has done them wrong. 

    I have no doubt Rapinoa earned that card. That being said, she may or may not have had a legitimate gripe, but I didn't watch the match, so I have no idea if the match really did feature the referee letting a level of physical play getting out of hand.

  8. Bob Ashpole replied, June 19, 2022 at 4:22 p.m.

    Just yelling insults at the referee is misconduct, but it is not dissent. That is my point.

  9. Frederick Coons replied, June 19, 2022 at 4:48 p.m.

    Victor, agree with yoru interpretation.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but found this definition online (though not sure that it came from an "official" rulebook): What is dissent in soccer? In soccer, dissent occurs whenever a player or other team official publicly objects to a call made by the game referee. Dissent can be verbal or action-based and consists of things such as insults, abusive or foul language, threatening or dismissive gestures, and throwing or kicking objects.

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, June 19, 2022 at 5:28 p.m.

    Frederick, you miss the point too. Just yelling insults is not dissent. Insults are only dissent if the insults were a communication disagreeing with a call. Insults are not what makes dissent, dissent. Expressing disagreement is the essence of dissent. The passage you quoted explains that the communication can take many forms including non-verbal. 

  11. Seth Vieux, June 19, 2022 at 9:48 a.m.

    Referee called 29 fouls and issued 8 yellows and I'm supposed to believe it was HER fault player safety was an issue? Maybe the coaches and players gotta own this one? 

  12. Beau Dure replied, June 19, 2022 at 5:43 p.m.


  13. George Miller, June 19, 2022 at 1:24 p.m.

    Where is the Pride now?

  14. stewart hayes, June 19, 2022 at 1:40 p.m.

    Is this the way the women's game is evolving in the US?

  15. R2 Dad replied, June 20, 2022 at 2:08 a.m.

    If I had to hazard a guess, Yes, this is how coaches stay relevant. It's much easier to stifle an opponent's creativity than produce your own. At the amateur level we see plenty of these Beefy Technicians whose job is to stop, stifle and cramp any offensive play. LA obviously is a less technical team and for this match they must have been instructed to shut down Rapinoe. Not a great advertisement for NWSL.

  16. R2 Dad, June 19, 2022 at 3:13 p.m.

    Thanks for posting the Twitch link. i'd never heard of them, but I can replay the match on my laptop (vs phone app). Will bookmark for future NWSL matches. Well-done PK!

  17. R2 Dad, June 19, 2022 at 6:07 p.m.

    What I see early on is a reluctance of the center to whistle late contact, especially when there is no chance to play the ball—there has got to be at least a whistle to keep the bar from rising during a match.

    18th mins commentator: “referee doing a good job of just letting them play”

    24th minute—that has to be a card, foul against riley. Ref had a chance to tamp down aggro but didn’t. Will spend rest of match playing catch-up.

    25th minute lineman blocking, foul and card for dissent.

    29th pinoe doesn’t get a call, unhappy.

    30th referee plays advantage, but chooses not to go back after and card after bad challenge on fishlock. LA Defender made no attempt to play the ball.

    36th minute, back to back lazy turnovers, players seem gassed already

    LA wants to play from the back but their back line just not very good at it.

    37th minute, commentator: its getting chippy.

    44th no call on LA defender jockeying pinoe—the purple haired one is not happy. Ref wants to flap gums rather than card.

    49th, pinoe not happy about foul call on her, referee appears to listen then card Lussi. Timing from official looks suspect, though I would have carded earler for Persistent Infringement as LA just kicking pinoe on every possession.


  18. R2 Dad replied, June 19, 2022 at 6:07 p.m.


    51st card on latsko for stomping on LA player. Now ref appears to understand discipline has slipped. 3rd yellow, ref now struggling to tamp down match.

    56 pinoe gets backed over by LA defender, foul, no card. 

    57 pinoe gets a card for not allowing 10 yards. This is a very poor choice/poor timing from the ref, given the context. Tone deaf to match dynamics—really surprising.

    58th—now its turning into rugby.

    59th LA linebacker takes out Fishlock from behind, players upset. Control of match gone. Lussi should be off but isn’t.

    LA had plenty of chances but can't finish, and no amount of hacking is going to change that.

    71st. Now that is just farce. Ref cards McCaskill for delay of game, a game in which LA is behind? pinoe and McCaskill have a laugh at ref’s expense.

    71st. Pinoe pulled before her mouth gets her in further trouble.

    73rd. too late, ref wants a 2nd yellow for pinoe since butthurt players making fun of her.

    74th. Commentator (female) rationalizing all the hacking throughout the match as acceptable. It's not.
    NWSL is going to have to decide if they want creative players in the league, they must protect them from all the kicking. Because this was ugly, despite commentators not minding the rugby.

  19. Bob Ashpole replied, June 20, 2022 at 1:43 a.m.

    Thanks R2. About what I thought. Bad official who may have written it up as dissent in the report so it wouldn't appear from her own report that the players from both teams were laughing at how bad a job the official was doing.

    I hope that there was an assessor at that match. This official needs to be downgraded.

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications