Allison’s Friday Favorites: Daly, Ohai hit a home run

Allison Lee April 21, 2017 11
Rachel Daly's goal celebration with Kealia Ohai was quite the hit.  (photo courtesy Houston Dash)

Rachel Daly’s goal celebration with Kealia Ohai was quite the hit.
(photo courtesy Houston Dash)

NWSL Week 1 was marred by severe injuries to players we know and love, confusion about how to watch the games and broadcasting glitches. But it wasn’t all bad, so let’s focus on the good to come out of the NWSL in the recent days. 

Daly, Ohai goal celebration knocks it outta the park

Everyone loves a good goal, and everyone loves a good goal celebration. Some players have their go-to goal celebrations that have become nearly iconic: Christen Press running with her arms wide open, Kendall Fletcher’s flip, and Megan Rapinoe’s leap.

And now, the Daly-Ohai homerun.

In the 15th minute of the Houston Dash’s home opener, Kealia Ohai scored the first goal of the 2017 NWSL season, putting a low shot past Chicago keeper Alyssa Naeher and into side netting. She then ran ran back to where Rachel Daly was waiting, imaginary softball in hand, before knocking Daly’s pitch out of the park.

The goal celebration was a hit. Gifs of the homerun celebration began circulating the Internet and social media soon after, and quickly as much of a talking point as Ohai’s and Daly’s goals. So how did the two come up with the idea?

“Basically we were in Portland on the preseason tournament and I think everyone was pretty sort of flat in training–I would say the word flat–and so we tried to sort of pump people up a little bit and we were doing a possession game,” Daly said. “Me and Kealia are very competitive and we never are really on the same team for stuff like that, but we were on the same team and for some unbeknown reason–I have no idea, I honestly could not tell anybody why–we just started pretending like we were throwing softballs celebrating. So then she happened to throw one–a fake softball–and I pretended to hit it and that was it. We were just like ‘Oh my goodness, we have to do this in a celebration if one of us score.’ And obviously it so happened that both of us scored, so we both got to do it.”

The celebration may be an inadvertent reference to a team joke about Daly’s “random” love of a softball, a sport she says she took up shortly after coming over to America. She fell in love with the sport while at St. John’s University and was friends with a number of players on the team.

That love of softball may just come in handy, though, as Ohai and Daly’s goal celebration has earned Daly the attention of Monica Abbott, an Olympic silver-medalist pitcher for the U.S. softball team and current pitcher for the Scrap Yard Dawgs, a professional fastpitch softball team in Texas. The team has since invited Daly to throw out the opening pitch at one of their games. Will she be taking the team up on the offer?

“Absolutely. I’d love to.”

Until then, fans hoping to see the goal celebration live are in luck, as Daly said she and Ohai plan to continue the celebration for at least the next few games. And, depending on what happens during training, they may debut some new celebrations as the season progresses.

#MartaWatch brings unprecedented excitement to NWSL

Say what you want about the Orlando Pride or Marta, but her signing with the club is the biggest signing in NWSL history, hands down. A team in just its second season bringing in a five-time FIFA Women’s Player of the Year is unprecedented. And fans are ecstatic for her arrival, as proven by last night’s Marta Watch.

A large crowd of Orlando Pride staff and fans gathered at the airport to formally greet the star to the city and the team. Members of The Crown, the Pride’s official supporter’s group, beat on drums and cheered during the wait, bringing the same electric atmosphere to the airport that they bring to the stadium on game days. Fans who couldn’t make it to the airport in person followed along on social media, following the hashtag #MartaWatch or tuning in to fan-shot live streams of the event. The excitement only heightened when Marta made her entrance, greeting the same fans who have waited weeks for her arrival.

Never before has the NWSL seen anything like Marta Watch, and it was amazing to see how fans from all over the country, not just Orlando, are excited about her playing in the league. Regardless of whether she can turn the Pride into a serious playoff contender, one thing is for certain, the excitement she’s brought to the Pride and to the league is something all fans should be excited about.

Mayors make NWSL charity wager

On Friday, April 14, Beaverton, Oregon Mayor Denny Doyle took to the city’s Twitter account to make a charity wager with the mayor of Orlando, Buddy Dyer. Doyle said he was positive the Portland Thorns would defeat the Orlando Pride on opening day and was willing to put $250 of his own money on the line to prove it. If he lost, he’d donate the money to the City of Orlando’s Parramore Kidz Zone, an outreach to help the children of Orlando’s highest poverty neighborhood be successful. Mayor Dyer accepted Mayor Doyle’s bet, offering to donate the same amount to the charity of Doyle’s choice if the Pride lost.

The Pride did lose, dropping their season opener to the Thorns, 2-0. Keeping up his end of the bet, Mayor Dyer will be donating $250 to HomePlate Drop-In, an organization that provides drop-in centers and outreach workers for homeless youth in Washington County, Oregon. Although his team lost, Mayor Dyer helped to make sure some of Beaverton’s local youths won.

As for the next meeting, Mayor Dyer said, “Hopefully with Alex Morgan and Marta, the result will be different when the teams meet in Orlando!”

Friday Favorites follow-up

(image courtesy of Playing for Pride)

(image courtesy of Playing for Pride)

Since last week’s column featuring the Playing for Pride campaign, even more players have joined on. Katie Stengel and Sam Mewis were the campaign’s two NWSL players at the time of publication, but soon after McCall Zerboni, Jessica McDonald and Joanna Lohman also joined. On Wednesday, Mewis’s SportingChic co-founders Stephanie McCaffrey and Kristie Mewis joined her in the campaign, with McCaffrey adding a $20 donation for every right-footed goal Kristie Mewis scores. (Anyone with ideas on a donation idea for Sam Mewis are welcome to send them to McCaffrey on Twitter.) Yesterday Lynn Williams, the 2016 NWSL MVP and Golden Boot winner, became the fourth member of the North Carolina Courage to join the campaign. That brings the campaign to 27 total players and eight NWSL players, although Lohman will be missing the rest of the 2017 season with a torn ACL. The campaign has also raised more than $3,000 for the Human Rights Campaign.

Allison’s Friday Favorites will feature positive, encouraging or otherwise uplifting stories from around the world of WoSo every week. All of the columns can be found here. 

  • FawcettFan14

    Another “go-to” goal celebration: Allie Long’s raising of the right arm. Not exactly points for creativity. But she does it every single time.

  • Steglitz49

    To think that 13 years ago an 18 year old Marta joined Umeå, a WoSo team in the City of Birches on almost 64 north in Sweden. At the time Umeå was the team to play for.

    Today Umeå are relegated from Damallsvenskan while Marta is a Swedish citizen about to have her second sojourn in the USA at decidedly more southern latitudes. Meanwhile Notts County ladies FC has gone bankrupt.

    WoSo in a nutshell.

    • rkmid71

      All I can say is that I”m happy Marta is back in the USA. The fun and joy factor just went up several times. I kind of wish I lived in Orlando to see more games. The one player in WoSo that I would say can draw fans on her own — firstly all those Brazilians around the US will show up more often and they know how to make games fun and draw other fans like me, not just to see Marta play, but for the fun of going to a game. You had her for a long time in Sweden, so don’t despair.

      • Steglitz49

        The 3Ms in Orlando: Marta, Monica and Morgan. If Mallory gets sent there, they will be the 4 Musqueteerettes!

      • Breakers fan

        I’ll be able to see her here in Boston in August, knock on wood. Excited.

  • Calci0

    Colaprico didn’t seem impressed 😉

  • Terry Lash

    Great to see so much enthusiasm for Marta in Orlando. Her presence in the league should add more fan support not only for the Pride but for other teams as well. Orlando’s PR success should, hopefully, serve as inspiration for other teams, and NWSL more generally.

    • guest

      or maybe their attendance will go down compared to 2016 between the longer season, five 4 p.m. Saturday TV matches in either rain or humid 90-100 degree heat, and their reluctance to spend money promoting any matches after the opener

      • Terry Lash

        I prefer to be optimistic, or at least hopeful. Notwithstanding a variety of issues with the start of this season, I think the NWSL is moving forward positively.

        • Steglitz49

          You forget that it seems a requirement of US WoSo fans to whinge and whine at every opportunity and to be as negative as possible, never coming with a constructive proposal. They seem to expect fried quails to fly into their mouths. At least, the ones who comment on the EQ.

          Maybe the Orlando top brass are overestimating the pulling power of Marta. Likewise later that of Alex. At the same time, I don’t know how big their marketing budget is.

          Acquiring Marta must have cost them something. As Notts County Ladies discovered the hard way: WoSo does not run on hail marks even if you played in the first ever ladies FA Cup final at Wembley.

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