by ANNE M. PETERSON, Associated Press
LYON, France (AP) —The United States won its record fourth Women’s World Cup title and second in a row, beating the Netherlands 2-0 Sunday night when Megan Rapinoe converted a penalty kick in the second half and Rose Lavelle added a goal.
Rapinoe, the pink-haired U.S. captain who grabbed world-wide attention on and off the field, scored in the 61st minute after a video review determined Stefanie van der Gragt had fouled Alex Morgan with a kick to the shoulder in the penalty area.
Two days past her 34th birthday, Rapinoe slotted the ball past goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal for her 50th international goal, her sixth of the tournament to win the Golden Ball as scoring leader. The oldest player to score in a Women’s World Cup final, she struck a familiar victorious pose with arms outstretched.
Lavelle, at 24 the team’s up-and-coming star, added a goal on an 18-foot left-footed shot in the 69th after a solo run up the center of the field.
The Americans never trailed in the tournament and set records with 26 goals and a 12-game World Cup winning streak dating to 2015. U.S. coach Jill Ellis became the first coach to lead a team to two Women’s World Cup titles, and the U.S. joined Germany in 2003 and 2007 as the only repeat champions.
A trio of former Virginia women’s soccer players represented the United States as part of the squad with Morgan Brian (class of 2015), Becky Sauerbrunn (class of 2007) and Emily Sonnett (class of 2016) donning the kit. Sauerbrunn was playing in her third FIFA Women’s World Cup (2011, 2015, 2019), while Brian was making her second appearance (2015, 2019). They join Angela Hucles (2003, 2007) as Cavaliers named to multiple World Cup rosters.
It was the first Women’s World Cup for Sonnett. She was the sixth Cavalier to be named to a World Cup roster, joining Amanda Cromwell (1995), Lori Lindsey (2011), Hucles, Sauerbrunn and Brian.
Virginia head coach Steve Swanson served as an assistant coach for the USWNT for the second straightWomen’s World Cup.