Rose Lavelle makes the most of her return to the USWNT starting XI
Lavelle made her first USWNT start since September of 2017
Washington Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle celebrates her goal for the U.S. women's national team on Thursday night at Toyota Park. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/
Washington Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle celebrates her goal for the U.S. women's national team on Thursday night at Toyota Park. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/

Bridgeview, Illinois — Eleven months since her last start for the U.S. women’s national team. Thirteen months since her last goal.

On Thursday night vs. Brazil, Rose Lavelle snapped both of those streaks.

I was a little nervous, but just kind of had to calm myself down, and trust in my progression and where I’m at and just enjoy the moment,” Lavelle said after the United States’ 4-1 win, which also gave them the 2018 Tournament of Nations title. Lavelle’s goal was the first of four unanswered for the United States in the comeback victory.

Before Thursday’s game, Lavelle’s last goal — with the USWNT or in the NWSL — came vs. Sweden on June 8, 2017, just three days before she suffered the hamstring injury that kept her out for most of the past year. Her last start for the U.S. was on September 19, 2017 in a friendly vs. New Zealand.

This year, the Spirit midfielder has worked her way back slowly in the NWSL — one start over six appearances —  and for the USWNT, appearing in all three Tournament of Nations games after making her 2018 debut in June.

Rose is a very different type of player. She’s really special. We recognized that a long time ago and obviously had to wait a long time for this night in terms of getting her back healthy and being able to get her out there for 45 minutes,” U.S. women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis said. “I’m happy for her.”

First, Lavelle played the final 26 minutes of the United States’ win over Japan last week. Next, the final 11 in the draw with Australia on Sunday. Then finally on Thursday night at Toyota Park, her first start since last year.

“My mindset has kind of just been taking it training by training, game by game, and resetting after each training and game. I think that kind of helped me going into this game,” Lavelle said. “Whether the 45 minutes is good or bad, it’s kind of a small victory to be able to go out and get my first start and 45 minutes under my belt.”

Lavelle started in the midfield alongside Julie Ertz and Lindsey Horan and combined well with forward Tobin Heath. With the plan for her to play the first half, Lavelle capitalized on her opportunity, scoring the equalizing goal in the 33rd minute after the United States fell behind in the 16th minute. Horan found her in space in the box, and Lavelle buried the shot.

It’s Lavelle’s third international goal in just her 11th career cap, after making her international debut in March of 2017.

“I think that was kind of the monkey on my shoulders, that had been kind of been weighing on my back since I’ve been back. When am I gonna get that first goal?” Lavelle said. I probably shouldn’t say this, but I feel like usually I shank those way over the goal. So, I just wanted to make good contact with it and thankfully this time I did.”

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