With just two rounds left, the W-League playoff picture is starting to take form. Several teams grabbed crucial points this weekend, as the top four table spots are being claimed.
Brisbane Roar 3 (Crummer 19’, Raso 31’, Butt 82’) – 2 Western Sydney Wanderers (Gordon 8’, Carney 47’)
The Narrative: After a back and forth first half filled with goals, Brisbane was able to take control of the game in the second half. Helped in part by the sending off of Wanderers captain Heather Garriock in the 75th minute, Brisbane was able to find their game winner and lock up an important three points. It’s worth noting that this was Nadine Angerer’s first game back since winning the FIFA Player of the Year award.
The Player: Hayley Raso was an absolute menace in this game. She consistently challenged the back line of Western Sydney and despite taking the brunt of a heavy tackle in the match, she continued to play and create chances for her team. An assist on the first goal and scoring the second by herself, Raso had a great all around game.
Worth A Shout: Tameka Butt also had a goal and an assist for Brisbane, scoring what would become the game winner in the 82nd minute. Butt was lethal in this one, finishing her chance with poise and made several game changing passes through out the match.
Adelaide United 1 (Moore 52’) – 2 Sydney FC (Taylor 24’, Harrison 95’)
The Narrative: It seems as if Adelaide United has had the worst luck with goals in stoppage time this season. After leaving two points on the table just two weeks again against Western Sydney, Adelaide goes home empty handed this time to a still undefeated Sydney FC team. Sydney is now tied atop the table with Melbourne and still has a game in hand with another two game week next round.
The Player: Jodie Taylor finds a way to get her name on the score sheet almost every game. If she isn’t assisting her teammates goals, she’s scoring them. This week she put a goal on the board and probably should have had another to break the deadlock in much less dramatic fashion.
Worth A Shout: It was a losing effort, but this game could have gotten much more out of hand if Melissa Barberi hadn’t been in the net for Adelaide. Once her team equalized, Barberi played like a brick wall and it took a chaotic scramble in the area after two straight saves for Sydney to find a way past her.
The Narrative: To keep pace with Sydney, Melbourne needed, and probably expected, a win against a struggling, pointless Newcastle squad. After being held to only a 1-0 lead in the first half, Melbourne had a four-minute attacking extravaganza, netting three straight goals to almost assure a win. While Newcastle did get a consolation goal late, Melbourne should feel pleased with their performance.
The Player: Lisa De Vanna was hands down the player of this match. De Vanna played a role in all four Melbourne goals, earning herself a hat trick and had an assist off of a cheeky back heel pass to Stephanie Catley. With De Vanna’s form on the upswing, it’s hard to see Melbourne’s eight straight unbeaten streak ending before the playoffs.
Worth A Shout: While this game was seemingly all Lisa De Vanna, there were other players on the field. Caitlin Friend also had a good contest, as she and De Vanna were far superior to Newcastle’s struggling back line. If not for the excellent play of Jets goalkeeper Eliza Campbell, Friend probably would have been on the board as well.
The Narrative: After a bit of a rough patch, Canberra has come roaring back to secure a top four spot with two big back to back wins. This week Canberra flexed their offensive muscle, something that has been an issue at times this season, and was able to take three points from what could be considered a particularly disappointing Perth team this season.
The Player: Lori Lindsey has been a bit quiet for Canberra since the start of the season, but she gave one of her best performances thus far in this match. Two assists, and what should have probably been a third, along with a goal of her own capped off a solid performance from Lindsey in the midfield.
Worth A Shout: After presumably being subbed in to rest Michelle Heyman for next week’s mid week clash with Sydney FC, Georgia Yeoman-Dale made the most of her time on the field. Two big goals in just two minutes to seal the win and the three points for Canberra, she could be a dangerous sub down the road.
Team Of The Week: Sydney FC
With an undefeated streak of 9 straight games, simply put, all signs point to Sydney FC being the team to beat in the rapidly approaching W-League playoffs. With 23 points out of a possible 27 total points so far, Sydney has made the most of their games. Keep in mind that they still have one more game to play than Melbourne, and that could be the difference for the number one seed and the regular season title.
Next Week’s Game to Watch: Canberra United vs Sydney FC
In what could be a preview of an upcoming playoff match, Canberra and Sydney will face off mid-week in a game that should have taken place way back in round three, but was missed due to Sydney’s trip to the Club World Cup. Both teams would be happy to take away six points from two games this week, as Sydney look to take sole possession of first place, and Canberra look to over take Brisbane for third place on the table.