Rachel Daly #3 of the Houston Dash brings the ball up the field between Lindsey Horan #10 and Becky Sauerbrunn #4 of the Portland Thorns FC during a game between Portland Thorns FC and Houston Dash at PNC Stadium on October 17, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Wilf Thorne/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Portland Thorns defender Becky Sauerbrunn is speaking out on Rachel Daly’s blockbuster transfer from the Houston Dash to Women’s Super League club Aston Villa.

Daly, who served as captain of the Dash, spent seven years with Houston, scoring a franchise-high 33 regular-season goals during her tenure. The English star said her decision to play in the WSL was guided by her need to be closer to family.

“I think she is such a loss to the league because she has such a great personality and she’s been such a cornerstone for Houston,” Sauebrunn said on Men in Blazers’ The Women’s Game podcast. “She’s definitely one of those players that I know I hate going up against because she is that good and some players think they’re that good and that’s also super irritating to me, but she is actually that good. So, in a weird way, I am gonna miss her.”

Daly responded to Sauerbrunn’s remarks on Twitter, writing, “Wow thank you Becky Sauerbrunn your words mean a lot! I definitely won’t miss playing against you,” accompanied with a crying laughing emoji.

The 30-year-old’s exit has instigated a conversation around the NWSL’s ability to retain top talent. International stars, including Australia’s Sam Kerr and the Netherlands’ Vivianne Miedema, have opted to play in the WSL, where salaries are more lucrative.

The NWSL’s CBA, however, has worked toward rectifying the disparity between leagues, with Rookie of the Year Trinity Rodman signing a landmark four-year $1.1 million deal.