Photo: Jamie Trecker / FOX Soccer
By Jamie Trecker
STAMFORD BRIDGE - There’s no Rafa, but Megan Rapinoe just went down the tunnel, kitted out, like all the Lyon players, in a chic white pantsuit. Lyon came dressed for business.
The women’s Champions League final is here tonight, and while it feels like an afterthought this weekend, there is little doubt that Lyon are taking this game very seriously. The Wolfsburg players came out in sweats and busied themselves by taking pictures and posting them on Instagram. Patrice Lair, Lyon’s non-nonsense coach, was having none of that and took his players into a huddle at the Shed End.
Lyon are wild favorites in this game: they are the back-to-back defending UWCL champions and come in riding a stunning run of form. The scorelines they have posted Europe seem like a bit of a joke: they’ve conceded only two goals while pasting teams 9-1, 11-0, 12-1 and 8-0. At home, they are 20-0-0 in their league play and have an eye-watering goal difference of +115. Lair’s seriousness may have something to do with that.
And Rapinoe has a chance to make history tonight, becoming the first American to start and win a Champions League medal. Jovan Kirovski has a medal, but he did not start for Dortmund back in 1997; Ali Krieger has a medal, but the Champions League didn’t exist when she suited up for Frankfurt. (Rapinoe was delighted to learn this, joking that she finally has something to tease Krieger about.)
If things break her way, Rapinoe will also beat Neven Subotic, expected to start Saturday for Dortmund, to the punch. Subotic, as you may know, is the former USA U-20 player who was grossly mishandled by the U.S. national team program, and ended up declaring instead for Serbia.