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Women's World Cup 2019: USA's Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe explain why they switched taking penalty kick

Sporting News logo Sporting News 6/24/2019 Chelsea Howard

Alex Morgan holding a green ball © Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited The United States' match against Spain came down to an important penalty kick, but there was a change in plan when it came to which American would take the shot.  

After Rose Lavelle was fouled inside the box by Spain's Virginia Torrecilla, star forward Alex Morgan stepped up and it looked like she was going to take the penalty kick. After a lengthy VAR review, however, she came back out and handed the ball to Megan Rapinoe.

The veteran, who had scored in the 7th minute off another penalty to Tobin Heath, stepped up and converted to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead in the 75th minute.

It wasn't clear at the time the reasoning behind the switch, but Morgan said after the game that it was a decision made by head coach Jill Ellis.

"We have the penalty takers and this actually hasn't come up where we had two penalties in a game yet, so Rapinoe gave me the ball. But it's ultimately the coach's decision. The ball went back to Rapinoe and the ball went to the back of the net," Morgan told Fox Sports.

With Rapinoe's second goal, she became the second player in the Women's World Cup history to score two penalties in one match. The only other player to reach that feat, ironically, was Spain's Jennifer Hermoso.

"We've practiced these a lot," Rapinoe told reporters. "Obviously you can never replicate having a knockout round game on the line with it, but to be honest, I had given it to Alex in the beginning just because I took the first one and I thought we should switch it up.

"And then they were like you're first in line for a reason so just get back up there and take it. So I didn't really feel a lot of pressure to begin with because I had a short wait. I just had to go from the sideline and take it."

After barely escaping with a win, the U.S. advances to face France in the quarterfinals Friday.

Related slideshow: Best of the Women’s World Cup (Provided by imagn)


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