REIMS, France -- Megan Rapinoe converted a pair of penalty kicks and the United States set up a much-anticipated quarterfinal meeting with host France at the Women's World Cup with a 2-1 victory over Spain on Monday.
Rapinoe's first came in the seventh minute to the cheers of the U.S. supporters melting in temperatures that reached nearly 90 degrees at the Stade Auguste-Delaune. They were quieted a short time later when Jennifer Hermoso tied it up for Spain with the first goal the Americans had allowed in France.
Video review was used to confirm a foul on Rose Lavelle that gave the pink-haired captain the game-winner in the 75th minute, spoiling Spain's spirited effort in its first knockout-round appearance at a World Cup.
"That’s World Cup-level grit right there," Rapinoe said on the Fox Sports broadcast. "You can’t replicate it. You can’t teach it. We told each other during the game we needed to go up a level. They (the matches) only get harder and more intense from here. Everybody’s playing for their lives."
The defending champions head to Paris to face France on Friday night. The French defeated Brazil 2-1 in extra time Sunday night, with Amandine Henry scoring the game-winner in the 107th minute.
In changing the timing of their on-field pregame program, the Washington Spirit organization successfully denied Megan Rapinoe the opportunity to kneel in protest during the national anthem.
Rapinoe, along with players from both the Spirit and her Seattle Reign FC, were still in the locker rooms at Maryland Soccerplex when the anthem was played, obviously ahead of its usual place in the pregame routine.
Her attempts at a pregame protest muted, Rapinoe spoke out following the contest.
“It’s f---ing unbelievable,” she told reporters when asked about the home club’s decision to move the anthem in order to avoid her announced protest. “[I’m] saddened by it.”
Rapinoe took direct aim at Washington Spirit owner Bill Lynch, telling Caitlin Buckley of BlackandRedUnited.com that she believes Lynch is "homophobic."
Rapinoe also targeted the wording in a Spirit press release explaining the club’s decision to adjust its pregame routine.
The six-paragraph statement claimed Rapinoe was "hijacking" the club’s event in order to "draw attention to a what is ultimately a personal – albeit worthy – cause."
"I think it was incredibly distasteful,” Rapinoe responded. “To say that I – four days before [9/11] – to say that I hijacked this event.”
The same press release also explained that the Spirit are a ‘veteran owned’ team and that owner Bill Lynch "lost personal friends during overseas conflicts and has other close friends who have also lost loved ones."
The Spirit and Reign FC will meet again on Sunday, September 11, in Seattle.
RELATED: Washington Spirit circumvent Rapinoe's protest efforts
Four days after causing a stir by taking a knee during the national anthem, USWNT star and Seattle Reign midfielder Megan Rapinoe was in Maryland on Wednesday to take on the Washington Spirit.
It was expected that Rapinoe would once again show solidarity toward 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his silent protest.
But instead of playing the anthem with all the players on the field, as is typically the case, the Washington Spirit did not wait for Rapinoe to make her protest. The organization played the anthem as the teams were in the locker room getting ready.
The organization then released a statement defend its actions.
RELATED: RAPINOE DEFENDS RIGHT TO PROTEST
"We understand this may be seen as an extraordinary step, but believe it was the best option to avoid taking focus away from the game on such an important night for our franchise," the team said in an official statement.
"To willingly allow anyone to hijack this tradition that means so much to million of Americans and so many of our own fans for any cause would effectively be just as disrespectful as doing it ourselves."
The Spirit, owned by Bill Lynch — a veteran — expressed concern over disrespecting those who also served. "Professional athletes have incredible numbers of followers, to which we believe they have the abillity to articulate a conversation with objectives and plans and begimn a serious conversation directly, or through traditional media appearances, without insulting our military and our fans."
At the core of Kaepernick and Rapinoe's protest was oppression, not being pro or anti-millitary.
Rapinoe wanted her protest to spark a conversation. One about change.
It does not appear the Spirit want to engage in that same discussion.