Two blowouts and two shutouts rounded out the first W-League weekend of 2014 and these first results of the new year showed a rather wide gap between the top teams in the league, and those struggling at the bottom of the ladder. As Melbourne looked to continue their fine form, Adelaide continues to surprise.
The Narrative: Brisbane scored two goals early and never really looked back after that. Both teams gave up penalties in the second half as defense got sloppy towards the end of the game. While Newcastle was able to salvage two garbage time goals to make the score line a bit more respectable, there is still no doubt that they were completely outclassed. Brisbane looks to be in fine form and may have a bit of a keeper competition on their hands as Kate Stewart got the first start of the New Year over Nadine Angerer.
The Player: Emily Gielnik made her return to the Brisbane lineup after missing out multiple weeks of action due to injury and her impact was apparent almost immediately. Gielnik was in fine form: scoring the second goal of the game and netting a brace before halftime. With Gielnik getting back to full fitness, Brisbane’s depth is starting to look rater intimidating.
Worth A Shout: Vedrana Popovic got things rolling for Brisbane and helped them stay on top for most of the match. Popovic got the opening goal of the game, and assisted on Gielnik’s goal just two minutes later. Popovic was involved all game long, and made lots of great connecting passes throughout the match.
Melbourne Victory 2 (Friend 47’, Goad 77’) – 0 Western Sydney Wanderers
The Narrative: Melbourne picked up right where they left off in 2013 and kept their three point lead at the top of the table. Western Sydney started the match off with most of the pressure and created a fair share of chances but just couldn’t find the back of the net. In the second half Melbourne scored early and was able to take control of the game from then on, as Western Sydney sent numbers forward to find an equalizer.
The Player: Caitlin Friend has been having an excellent season thus far for the Victory, and when Melbourne’s star players Lisa De Vanna and Jess Fishlock aren’t scoring, Friend has been a reliable third option. After hitting the crossbar in the first half, she was finally able to finish one just after the half.
Worth A Shout: To seal the victory, and an important three points for Melbourne, Beatrice Goad scored just four minutes after entering the match as a second half substitute. It’s also worth noting that Goad is only 16 years old. While Goad only played 17 minutes in the match, its clear that her impact was felt.
Sydney FC 8 (Taylor 41’, Khamis 36’, Kete 44’, Foord 12’ 65’ 90’, Bolger 84’, Logarzo 89’) – 2 Perth Glory (Gill 29’, Tabain 48’)
The Narrative: When the weekend started I really expected Brisbane to have the biggest blowout. I was staggeringly incorrect in that notion. Its important to remember that Perth is dealing with injuries, but I’m not quite sure an 8-2 scoreline can be justified whatsoever. It seemed like every few minutes there was a wide open Sydney FC player inside the box teeing up yet another goal.
The Player: Caitlin Foord was, simply put, on another level. Her second goal was a thing of pure skill. Dribbling through what seemed like every defender for Perth and then slotting it past the keeper. It seemed like nobody on the field could even come close to stopping her, and as a result she scored her first ever W-League hat trick.
Worth A Shout: If it weren’t for Caitlin Foord’s absolute dominance of this match, Jodie Taylor would be my player of the match. She had the opening assist to Foord off of a great give and go, and later in the match scored a wide open goal in the area.
Adelaide United 2 (Woods 10’, Quigley 13’) – 0 Canberra United
The Narrative: Adelaide continues to be quite a pleasant surprise in the W-League this season. Its’ just their third win of the season, but they’re only six points off the pace of Melbourne. With this shutout, they still have yet to allow more than two goals in a game this season. As for Canberra, this loss is incredibly disappointing. A team with a lot of firepower that can’t get on the board should be concerned.
The Player: Lisa Marie Woods has quietly been having a very good return season in the W-League. The midfielder really helps keep Adelaide calm throughout the game and can provide an offensive spark when needed. Woods’ goal in this one was fantastic, using the poor weather to her advantage and curling the ball into the back of the net from quite a distance.
Worth A Shout: Jenna McCormick has been one of the main leaders for this Adelaide team and her rock solid performance in this match was a big factor in their shutout and three points. Canberra threatened several times in the second half, but Adelaide’s defense stood strong and McCormick is a big reason for that.
Team Of The Week: Sydney FC
When a team scores eight goals in a match I am inclined to pick them as my team of the week. Sydney has still yet to lose a game so far this season with three wins and two draws, and their goals scored total is easily the best in the league. While on occasion their stalwart offense can be slow to produce, their defense has still kept them in games. While they do sit just fourth on the table, bear in mind that Sydney still has two games to make up.
Next Week’s Game to Watch: Melbourne Victory vs Canberra United
This is a top-four clash that has the potential to really shake up the ladder between league leaders Melbourne and third place Canberra. Melbourne will be looking to extend their five game unbeaten streak with their defense, which has been dominant thus far. After their disappointing loss to Adelaide, Canberra needs to find their offensive flow and get an important three points in this game.