The National Women’s Soccer League kicked off its fifth season Saturday, much longer than any other North American women’s professional soccer league has lasted, and the opening slate of games provided some terrific highlights. In particular, Houston Dash striker Rachel Daly delivered a goal for the ages late in their clash with the Chicago Fire, going at a defender near the edge of the 18-yard box, then stopping, turning, and driving a curling strike into the top left corner of the net.
That’s a remarkable goal, and it proved important in the Dash’s 2-0 win over the Fire. They took the lead in the 15th minute on a strike from Kealia Ohai, but Chicago had some chances as the day wore on. Daly’s 80th-minute drive provided a crucial cushion that helped the Dash start their season with a home win.
There are a couple of important things to note about this goal. First, this was only viewable by those not in the stadium thanks to the NWSL’s streaming deal with Verizon’s go90. As Jonathan Tannenwald of Philly.com notes, that deal provides some access challenges (especially as NWSL coverage is currently only available through their app, and not yet their website), but it’s useful for the league because it provides a significant media rights fee (unlike offers from wider platforms such as YouTube or Facebook).
It’s also notable that Daly scored this goal. She’s an English international, and one who may not have played in a North American league previously (especially given that women’s soccer is pretty strong in Europe, and U.S. internationals like Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan are currently playing there), so her presence alone is a pretty good sign of how far this league has come. But even beyond that, this is just a brilliant goal, and one that deserves plenty of kudos. Well done to Daly and the Dash.