Rachel Daly was sitting at home Saturday night when the texts and tweets started coming so fast she could not keep up with them all.
The Dash forward knew she had scored a gorgeous goal that afternoon. She never expected it to get a bigger reaction than any other goal she’s ever scored.
Sports Center made it No. 1 its first edition of its Top Ten plays for the day.
“It was exciting and cool to get the Dash out there for something like that,” Daly said Sunday. “That’s the biggest point of it.”
Earlier in the day ESPN reached out to Daly and the Dash to ask permission to use the video of Daly’s 80th minute goal that put away a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Red Stars.
Daly received a pass from Kealia Ohai on the right side of the 18-yard line and faced up with defender Samantha Johnson. Daly took one touch to her right, stopped the ball when Johnson cut her off and spun back to the left.
That gave the right-footed Daly space to hit a curling left-footed shot that could not have been placed any better in the top left corner. It was a masterful play and a perfect example of her off-season work paying off. She spent a lot of time on separation moves and shooting.
The goal was good enough to beat out plays from the Bundesliga, English Premier League, MLS, NHL and even an explosive drive and dunk from the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo.
ESPN ultimately bumped Daly’s goal to No. 2 after Joe Johnson scored a buzzer beater to give the Utah Jazz a playoff victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
By then it didn’t matter. Daly and the Dash already had quite a bit of notoriety and a win in the season opener. Houston had been nursing a 1-0 lead for 65 minutes when Daly doubled the lead.
“The important thing, that meant a lot more to me than the actual goal was that it set the tone with a win,” Daly said. “The timing of the goal and what it meant was bigger than how it actually went in.”