Just give Trinity Rodman a call-up for November’s USWNT friendlies against Australia now. She’s earned it.
The favorite to win the NWSL Rookie of the Year (and hopefully get more than a $50 gift card to Chipotle), Trinity Rodman provided the pivotal spark to send the Spirit in the NWSL semifinals, creating the game winner as Washington beat the North Carolina Courage 1-0 in extra time on Sunday night. And she did it in front of her father, who you may recognize from his friendship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un or career as a Hall of Fame basketball player.
The second quarterfinal on Sunday was the soccer equivalent of a pitcher’s duel. Washington’s Aubrey Bledsoe and North Carolina’s Casey Murphy combined for an unreal 21 saves in a game with 54 shots. Some matches finishing 0-0 through 90 minutes are boring; this one was not.
Murphy was particularly impressive with 13 saves on the night. Time after time she sprawled out to deny what looked like a definite goal. Murphy wasn’t nominated for Goalkeeper of the Year in the NWSL, but after this performance she deserves to be on that finalist list alongside Bledsoe, Bella Bixby and Kailen Sheridan (who have all be excellent as well).
— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) November 7, 2021
Casey Murphy said NOPE pic.twitter.com/aVTvFtAGc3— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) November 8, 2021
For more than 110 minutes, Bledsoe and Murphy stood on their heads to keep the match scoreless. Then the first miscue either made led to the game’s only goal.
Seven minutes before a looming shootout, Trinity Rodman found space inside the box, cut inside to create room to unleash a shot and fired. Yet again, Murphy made the save, but this time she let the ball spill for a rebound opportunity.
Golden Boot winner Ashley Hatch was there to pounce, and the Spirit had their goal. Rodman won’t get an assist for her efforts, but you can see she didn’t care one bit so long as the ball went in the back of the net.
When the goal went in, one man who stood out in celebrating was Rodman’s father, Dennis. While Trinity cites her mother as the bigger influence in her becoming a professional footballer — the then-18-year-old was the youngest player ever selected in the NWSL draft in January — there’s no doubt plenty of casual fans are fascinated by the former NBA bad boy being the father of one of the country’s rising soccer stars.
Among those in attendance tonight at Audi Field: NBA legend Dennis Rodman, who went positively bonkers when his daughter Trinity helped set up the Spirit’s potential game-winner. #NWSLPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/dMInuDMS3T— Pablo Iglesias Maurer (@MLSist) November 8, 2021
Yes, Dennis still has his trademark colorful hair, even at 60 years of age. He was seen chatting with Y. Michele Kang, one of the co-owners of the Spirit (and who is likely to become full owner once Steve Baldwin sells the club as he promised but has yet to do).
Michele Kang looking like she’s getting some important diplomatic guidance from Dennis Rodman, who as we all know has a lot of experience negotiating with a dictator. #SellTheTeamSteve https://t.co/e3oZJ5OMdR pic.twitter.com/46zgWtWNbV— Anthony DiCicco (@DiCiccoMethod) November 8, 2021
I would love to know what Kang and Dennis Rodman spoke about.
With the 1-0 win, the Spirit advance to the semifinals to face off against the OL Reign on Sunday, Nov. 14. The match will kick off at 3 p.m. ET on CBSSN, followed by the Portland Thorns-Chicago Red Stars semifinal at 5:30 p.m. ET (also on CBSSN), making for a thrilling weekend in the Pacific Northwest. Mal Pugh and the Red Stars ended Carli Lloyd’s career on Sunday night.
Get your popcorn ready for the PNW pic.twitter.com/A8b0GEOK2S
The Reign-Spirit semifinal will feature two of the league’s hottest teams. The Reign have been nearly unbeatable since adding Lyon loanees Dzsenifer Marozsán, Eugénie Le Sommer and Sarah Bouhaddi in the middle of the season, while the Spirit have rallied superbly since Richie Burke was ousted after major abuse allegations became public in August.
The semifinal winners will trek back east to play in the NWSL Championship game on Saturday, Nov. 20, in Louisville. The final will kick off at noon ET and be broadcast on CBS. Six days later, the USWNT will face Australia in the first of two November friendlies Down Under. We’ll find out soon if Trinity Rodman will receive her first senior national team call-up for those matches. Her selection could depend upon how far the Spirit go in these NWSL playoffs.