The Portland Thorns won the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup on Saturday, and then came the trophy lift, the celebrations and more. The first trophy of the season marked the beginning of what looks like a very exciting season and the end of the first competition of the season. One trophy down and hopefully a few more to come.
One of the best things about winning a trophy is the team celebrations — and the Challenge Cup has a pretty good track record of excellent celebrations. Just look at the Houston Dash post-match scenes after winning the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup. The amount of Budweiser consumed and the Dash’s never-ending party was almost as impressive as their Cinderella run to the title.
The Thorns won this year’s edition of the Challenge Cup and were able to consume loads of Budweiser, as is now customary, but they weren’t afforded the time to stretch their celebrations into a multiday event because the regular season starts up soon. Still, there were still some incredible moments from the Thorns’ post-match party. To help get you through this Wednesday and fire you up for the regular season, here are five of the best.
“I just love winning”
Crystal Dunn loves winning — and she is really, really good at it. She won her fifth trophy from the six league competitions she has participated in since returning to the NWSL in 2018. And the great thing about winning trophies is that it never seems to get old.
Dunn was feeling it after winning the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup. She strutted the trophy around Providence Park and showed off her celebratory dance moves with Kelli Hubly.
Dunn still isn’t firing on all cylinders for the Thorns, which should scare every team in this league: Dunn is an NWSL — and overall — trophy magnet, and her full form is still to come. With her good form should come more trophies and more celebratory dance moves, because when you put Dunn on a team, it is a proven recipe for success in the NWSL.
Could Pedialyte be the next NWSL sponsor?
Everyone now knows that massive amounts of Budweiser should be consumed after winning the NWSL Challenge Cup, but what happens when you’re not 21 yet?
This isn’t a problem for most of the players, but we are seeing more and more players leave college early or skip college altogether. Sophia Smith is not yet 21, so while all of her teammates are popping champagne and downing Budweisers, she was unable to.
But don’t worry, the Thorns didn’t forget about her. They provided her with some nice, refreshing, hydrating Pedialyte.
Smith and the Thorns have started a trend. As more players under 21 are integrated into the league and celebrate trophies, this might be the go-to. Now Pedialyte needs to jump on this early and make Smith the face of their partnership with the NWSL.
The Challenge Cup Chug
The Challenge Cup cup itself got a makeover: It is no longer glass or breakable. It’s now a proper cup with handles and everything. The newly designed trophy allowed for the obvious Challenge Cup Chug. Meghan Klingenberg took full advantage of the new cup by loading it with Budweiser, gripping the two handles and putting down too many beers to keep track.
Madison Pogarch and Kelli Hubly also got in on the action. Pogarch dropped to a knee and got some help tipping it back from Celeste Boureille.
Hubly got a different kind of help from fellow center back Emily Menges. Hubly tried to start her cup chug slowly, but Menges had other ideas.
Let ’em pop
There is so much going on here. Every time you watch it you’ll see something new, and that’s what makes this video so enjoyable.
At first glance, and based on the Tweet, the Thorns are popping champagne. Klingenberg pops the first bottle, and Christine Sinclair throws water on everyone. Dunn and Lindsey Horan immediately duck for cover. Tyler Lussi and various other teammates jump into the champagne spray and cheer.
Then we have the final group composed of Bella Bixby, Morgan Weaver and Marissa Everett. As soon as Klingenberg pops the bottle of champagne, the three of them put the Budweisers to their mouths and shotgun.
Finally, Hubly gets her bottle of bubbly popped and everyone starts dumping drinks on one another.
Kling and Franch to the media
The best post-game moment (or moments) came in the post-match press conference. Klingenberg and Franch sat down to speak to the media and provided everyone with fantastic and hilarious quotes.
There was some serious stuff mixed in here and there, but what really stood out were some of Klingenberg and Franch’s quotes and interactions, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who is familiar with Kling and A.D.
The Rose City Review’s Katelyn Best kicked things off by asking the two Thorns players to rate the new Challenge Cup trophy.
Kling: “I just like that it's a cup. They call it a cup. They gave us a cup.”
A.D.: “And we drank from the cup.”
Kling: “We drank from the cup.”
.@BestKabest asks Kling and Franch to rate the actual trophy "in terms of its utilitarian qualities." Yes, they drank from the cup.— Steph Yang | Horrible Soccer Goose (@thrace) May 8, 2021
"If we're rating the cup, I would say I really like the big handles." - Meghan Klingenberg #CC21
Kling: “But honestly, if we were rating the cup, I would say I really like the big handles. I feel like the big handles are a big key.”
A.D. (on rating the cup out of 10): “Maybe if it has a couple more handles then it could be a 10.”
Kling: “I just want a bigger cup.”
A.D.: “So you can bathe in it?”
Kling: “Yeah ... bathe in the beer.”
I wrote about Meghan Klingenberg playing an influential role for the Thorns in 2021, with thoughts from her on how and why that is happening (and yes, published *that* quote as requested ):— Jeff Kassouf (@JeffKassouf) May 10, 2021
➡️ https://t.co/0QDQIx9MCT#NWSL pic.twitter.com/pINDqt4BlT
Kling: “I’m just having fun, guys. That’s all it is. My purpose on the Thorns is to be joy incarnate ... I’m just having fun and I hope you all can see that because I’m literally having a f**king blast ... so, uh, that’s a quote, Jeff [Kassouf]. You better put that in there.”
Here’s to hoping these celebrations can brighten your day and hold you over until the Thorns start the regular season. Portland Thorns can start their quest for more trophies and more hilarious celebrations on Sunday against Chicago Red Stars.