Rose Lavelle is probably the NWSL rookie under the most scrutiny this season by virtue of her #1 draft pick by the Boston Breakers and her flashy debut for the USWNT. Lavelle is mostly holding up her end of the deal; though she hasn’t gone to nutmeg town yet, she has quickly demonstrated her immense value as the CM shifting the team forward.
On Saturday, with Boston facing the historically much better Seattle Reign, she showed off the team’s new look by tallying Boston’s second goal in the 15’.
It’s a great ball through from Canadian teammate Adriana Leon combined with Lavelle demonstrating her speed, beating the defender by a hair and finishing without hesitation.
“Any time I’m on a new team and I can finally get a first goal it’s definitely a relief and a weight off my shoulders,” she said to media after the game. “Hopefully there’s more to come.”
Lavelle also picked up an assist in Boston’s last game, helping Natasha Dowie score in the 27’, netting Boston a 1-0 win over Sky Blue FC. Lavelle started the season pushed to the right midfield but in three games has quickly been pulled back into the center, where she’s demonstrated her ability for calm possession, good vision, and quick runs.
“I don’t think I had the best game,” she said of her performance against Seattle. “I think there’s still a lot of things to improve on for the next coming games, but I think we’re all starting to mesh and click well on the field and everyone’s really putting everything out there and that’s the difference [from the] FCKC game to these past two games.”
If Lavelle can manage a goal or an assist per game (which might be a bit much to expect, but only a bit), she might help propel Boston into a very respectable mid-table or even playoff position. That sounds like faint praise until you consider the history of the club, with their last-place finish in 2016 and 2015.
Perhaps it’s unfair to place so much responsibility on the shoulders of a rookie, but such is the level of talent Lavelle possesses. She’s deceptively quick, with a smooth stroke on the ball and the vision to pick out teammates. The ridiculous moves she sometimes flashes are exactly the marriage of skill and confidence that make her an early contender for rookie of the year. Sure, it’s a lot of pressure, but Lavelle seems like she has the chops to live up to it.