With Sydney back from Japan with a third place medal from the World Club Championship, the W-League was back to it’s regular four game schedule this past weekend.
Western Sydney Wanderers 3 (Petinos 45+’, Garriock 61’, Kingsley 75’) – 0 Perth Glory
The Narrative: A Wanderers team motivated by the return of three players from injury made the most of their offensive chances, ending Perth’s chance to start a winning streak. It’s certainly a rough result for Perth, as they had just ended their two-game losing streak with a close win last week and were looking to win two in a row for the first time this season. Western Sydney will be happy with three points, as they deservedly grab their first win of this year’s W-League campaign.
The Player: Jenna Kingsley may not have been one of the Wanderers players retuning to the pitch this season from injury, but still managed to grab attention with her excellent play this game. Kingsley was an offensive threat early on, forcing a big save from Perth keeper Chantel Jones. By the end of the game, Kingsley not only had an assist, but had also scored her first goal of the season to help seal three points for her squad.
Worth A Shout: After last playing with Sydney FC in 2011, Heather Garriock became a mother, and made her return to the league as a second half sub. Just six minutes after her Wanderers debut, Garriock found the ball at her feet in the box and chipped the ‘keeper for a fantastic goal to put her team up 2-0.
The Narrative: After their setback against Brisbane last week, Canberra responded by grabbing an expected three points in convincing fashion, putting themselves in a top four position on the table. Just 12 minutes in, Canberra was up 2-0 over Newcastle, who is continuing to struggle this season and are still looking for their first win. The silver lining for the Jets is they cut down the deficit in losing in half from their performance last week, where they allowed six goals to Melbourne.
The Player: I know its general practice to pick the player with multiple goals as the player of the game, but I’m going with Michelle Heyman over Stephanie Ochs. Heyman has been massive for Canberra this season and she turned in another solid performance in this one. A goal and an assist along with being a menace to the defense all game long earns her player of the match.
Worth A Shout: Obviously since she wasn’t player of the match, Stephanie Ochs still deserves a shout out. Two goals in this one brings Ochs’ total on the year up to three. Both goals were from a bit of a distance and well placed, as they curled into the far side of the net each time. It certainly seems that Ochs’ time abroad is doing a lot for her game.
Brisbane Roar 0 – 1 Adelaide United (Di Bartolo 73’)
The Narrative: It was ugly for both squads but in the end Adelaide grabbed three points from a favored Brisbane team. Its rare to say a team parked the bus when their opponent was down a player for most of the game, however Adelaide did just that for a good deal of the match and was able to grab a goal during chaos in the box, and Adelaide could have had a second if it wasn’t for a missed penalty later on. That being said, it really was a game of superb goalkeeping, with both net minders making some excellent saves throughout the match.
The Player: As I said earlier the game was a battle of keepers, and Melissa Barberi did much more than just make big save after big save in this one. Barberi did an excellent job of marshaling the troops all game long and made sure Brisbane wasn’t able to beat the offside trap Adelaide deployed for most of the game. One major mark of a great goalkeeper is having good communication with a defense and Barberi is a shining example of that.
Worth A Shout: While Brisbane fell in this match, it wasn’t for Hayley Raso’s lack of trying. It seemed like Raso was always trying to start an attack for Brisbane and had a few good looks on goal. Raso also had several great passes to set up teammates in excellent positions to score. Unfortunately nothing came to fruition for Brisbane, but Raso’s play was still solid.
Sydney FC 1 (Kete 33’) – 1 Melbourne Victory (Fishlock 81’)
The Narrative: The showdown between two of the W-League’s most talented squads didn’t disappoint this weekend, with a back and forth affair fitting for the Allianz Stadium, home of the Sydney FC Men’s team. While Melbourne probably deserved more than just a point, Sydney also had their fair share of chances on goal, converting the first goal of the game to take the lead into halftime. Melbourne seemed to grow frustrated as the game wore on, unable to finish on a handful of chances, but in the end was able to salvage an equalizer.
The Player: So far this season Jess Fishlock has been tearing up the W-League with her dynamic play. This game for her was no different. After over an hour of spurned chances, Melbourne was finally able to get the breakthrough they needed through who else but Fishlock. Her goal was able to grab a point for her team, enough to put Melbourne on the top of the table.
Worth A Shout: With Sydney FC dealing with jet lag and small injuries after the Women’s World Club Championships in Japan, there had to be some reshuffling to the team sheet come game time. And with Jodie Taylor out due to injury, Caitlin Foord made a rare start up top at forward. For a young player that is usually a back, this was a tough ask going up against a strong Melbourne back line. And to add to that, Foord is still returning to full fitness after injuries ended her NWSL season with Sky Blue FC earlier than expected. But Foord played a very solid game up top and her curling effort that struck the post in the first half bounced right to Emma Kete, who finished the play with a goal.
Team Of The Week: Canberra United
Despite their setback loss to the Roar last week, Canberra has been almost unstoppable thus far with three wins in their four matches. Their offense has been the story to their success, with eight goals in those three wins. However when they fail to finish their chances, things go awry for Canberra. If they can find a way to keep their offense firing on all cylinders, they’ll be a dangerous team all season long.
Next Week’s Game to Watch: Brisbane Roar vs Sydney FC
After Brisbane’s frustrating shutout loss this week they’ll obviously be looking to change their tune in Round Six. However, they’ll have to do it against one of the hottest teams in the league. While they’ve only played three games so far this season, Sydney FC is undefeated in those games, and should be well rested for next week’s match up. Both of these squads will be looking to keep pace with Canberra and Melbourne, so three points will be of the utmost importance.