Spirit Spotlight: Bronze Ball Winner Rose Lavelle

Washington Spirit  |   July 9, 2019
Spirit Spotlight: Bronze Ball Winner Rose Lavelle Featured Image

LYON, FRANCE – JULY 07: Rose Lavelle #16 during the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France final match between the Netherlands and the United States at Stade de Lyon on July 07, 2019 in Lyon, France.

By Owen Krucoff

Boyds, Md., (7/9/19) – The U.S. women’s national team captured its second straight and fourth overall World Cup title on Sunday, and Washington Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle was one of the team’s biggest breakout stars. 

The 24-year-old was a relatively unknown quantity heading into her first major tournament with the national team, but went on to steal the show and earn the Bronze Ball award for being the third-best player in the entire tournament.

Lavelle started in six of the Americans’ seven games in France, playing a total of 427 minutes. While she contributed on both ends of the field in each game, her performances in three of the team’s matches were especially key to the title run and to her own pursuit of the Bronze Ball.

Game 1: USA vs Thailand, June 11

Lavelle’s first big game came in her World Cup debut, when she scored twice in just 57 minutes as the U.S. dominated Thailand, 13-0, to kick off the group stage.

In the 21st minute, Lavelle got the ball after a short pass from Alex Morgan and dribbled to an open position just outside the penalty area. Her low, bouncing shot sailed just beyond the diving keeper and into the bottom left corner of the net to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead.

Lavelle’s second strike came in the 57th minute, with the Americans already holding a 6-0 lead. A cross into the center of the box missed Morgan and rolled into empty space, where Lavelle was the first to pounce on the loose ball and convert a simple chip into an open net. 

There were five Thai defenders compared to just three Americans in the box, but Lavelle’s positioning and awareness allowed her to take advantage of the situation and keep the goals flowing for the U.S.

In her first match on the world’s biggest stage, Rose Lavelle had taken full advantage and cemented her place in coach Jill Ellis’ first-choice lineup for the rest of the tournament.

Game 2: USA vs Spain, June 24

Lavelle earned her longest outing of the tournament outside of the final in the round of 16 match against Spain, playing 88 minutes in the 2-1 win. 

She was a key cog in midfield as usual, but her biggest moment came in the 71st minute, when she won the game-winning penalty kick after being fouled in the box.

Lavelle was chasing down a loose ball in the penalty area when she went to ground following contact from a Spanish defender. The foul was upheld after a VAR review, and Megan Rapinoe converted from the spot for the 2-1 lead. Lavelle’s attacking effort and willingness to get involved with the play gave the U.S. the opportunity to score the winning goal.

Game 3: USA vs Netherlands, July 7

With women’s soccer’s biggest prize at stake at the Stade de Lyon on Sunday, Lavelle delivered again with one of the most memorable goals of the World Cup as the U.S. defeated the Dutch 2-0. With the Americans holding a slim 1-0 advantage in the 69th minute, Lavelle’s solo effort following a pass from Sam Mewis doubled the lead and put the match all but out of reach for the Netherlands.

Lavelle’s goal was an example of how her creative attacking play can lead to good things for her team. Magnificent solo goals on the biggest stage can’t always be the norm, but what Lavelle provides was critical to the American offense all month long in France. She entered the tournament as part of the younger generation on the national team, without the experience and name recognition of stars such as Rapinoe or Morgan, but she left as a new global star with her status among the best in the world solidified in bronze.

Lavelle will be back in the DMV to continue the Spirit’s NWSL campaign when the team hosts the Houston Dash on July 20 Maryland SoccerPlex. Lavelle and World Cup teammate Mallory Pugh will honored for their achievements in a postgame ceremony. [TICKETS]

The Spirit will also host two upcoming games at Audi Field in the District. Alex Morgan and the Orlando Pride will come to town on August 24 [TICKETS], and Megan Rapinoe and Reign FC will visit on September 14 [TICKETS].

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