The U.S. is going into the biggest game of this Women’s World Cup without its biggest player, benching forward Megan Rapinoe for the semifinal with England.
Rapinoe has scored all four U.S. goals in 2-1 wins over Spain and France, becoming the only player with four straight goals for the Americans in a Women’s World Cup. She is co-leader in the tournament with five goals overall.
Christen Press will start in her place but the mystery is what’s wrong with Rapinoe?
A U.S. Soccer spokesman said he could not divulge why Rapinoe was benched other than to clarify it was not for disciplinary reasons. When Becky Sauerbrunn and Julie Ertz were held out of the lineup earlier in the tournament, U.S. Soccer immediately explained both had minor injuries.
Rapinoe did not participate in warmups before the game, standing on the sideline with her arms crossed while watching her teammates.
England also made a big change to its lineup, starting Carly Telford in goal rather than Karen Bardsley, who has four shutouts and has allowed just one goal in the tournament.