Rachel Daly takes Dash victory over Thorns as NWSL takes over


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Any other night, the Dash would have celebrated one of the franchise’s biggest wins.

On Wednesday, however, the outcome on the pitch didn’t matter. The players are in too much pain to be happy about anything.

Rachel Daly scored two goals, including a header in the 79th minute to give Dash a 3-2 victory over Portland Thorns at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon.

It’s their second Portland win in team history and propels them over the playoff line, but it was what happened in Portland six years ago that made a otherwise monumental result nothing more than a footnote.

In 2015, former Portland players Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly accused their former head coach Paul Riley of sexual coercion and other abuse, but their claims were largely ignored by the organization at the time.

In 2021, Shim and Farrelly informed the NWSL league office of Riley’s actions and were once again largely ignored. These details emerged in an article published Thursday by Athletic.

Riley was sacked from his job as coach of North Carolina Courage on Friday, weekend league games were postponed and NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird was sacked. The fallout was harsh and swift as players took time to reflect on a hectic week in which other coaches lost their jobs due to abusive behavior.

The league resumed Wednesday night with three games. In all three games, players from both teams joined the center circle with their arms around each other in the sixth minute. Doing it in the sixth minute symbolized the six years it took for Shim and Farrelly’s concerns to be taken seriously.

“It has been a very busy week for everyone, especially the players, and we wanted to shed some light on the challenges we have been through, both on and off the pitch,” Dash defender Katie said. Naughton in a post-game statement. . “A player will not take on this job alone. We all wear it together. There is no accountability without transparency and action. We will finish what Kaiya (McCullough), Mana, Sinead and others started.

“We demand that every club, coach and owner be investigated. We recommend that they volunteer to do so. The NWSL and each club must cooperate with the AP’s own investigation. We are not bringing down the NWSL. In doing so, we rebuild it into what we know it can and should be. We believe in our bones that we can do it.

The Dash (8-7-5, 29 points) had no training sessions and had no other preparation for Wednesday’s game. They met as a team on Sunday night and traveled to Portland on Monday. On Tuesday, they did their usual warm-up to let go, but that’s it.

Coach James Clarkson said it didn’t feel right to subject them to the regular routine when it was out of their minds.

The Dash will be back in action on Sunday night with a home game against North Carolina, and then on October 13, they will travel to Kansas City to catch up on the game they missed last weekend.

Wednesday’s win over the Thorns (12-6-2, 38 points) puts them in a good position to advance to the playoffs for the first time in club history, but that’s far from their minds in this regard. moment.

“Things have to get better for them because they’re special,” Clarkson said. “Both teams. It was a real football game tonight. The fans were amazing. That’s why everyone has to do everything to make this league better, to protect the players, because without the players it is nothing.

“It’s important that things get better, and we’re doing everything in our power – all of us – to make things better for these players because they so deserve it.”

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