It’s been a fun season of Westfield W-League play and just as quickly as the season started, we only have one week left of regular season play. The top four teams have booked their semifinal places, the only thing left to sort in the last week of the season is what position each team will finish in.
Melbourne Victory 0 – 1 Perth Glory (Gill 23’)
The Narrative: With Sydney FC continuing to hold onto first place, Melbourne was looking to keep pace and perhaps secure a top-two finish. Perth, however, had other ideas. It was a tight contest that was marked by missed chance after missed chance for Melbourne. Lisa De Vanna and Jess Fishlock both looked dangerous, but no one could find the back of the net.
The Player: It seemed like Perth goalkeeper Chantel Jones turned away shot after shot after shot from Melbourne all game long. Jones was a brick wall in the back for Perth and despite only a one goal cushion Jones was able to preserve the shutout and earn her team a relatively shocking three points.
Worth A Shout: Perth is missing five players due to injury, including striker Rosie Sutton, so that means several players had to step up to compensate for their losses. One such player was Kate Gill, who went on to score the game winning goal in the upset.
The Narrative: Canberra knew that coming into this match that three points should not only be expected against a last place Newcastle, but would go a long way towards putting themselves in favorable position for the semifinals. The result was a statement win for Canberra, who jumped over Melbourne into second place. As for Newcastle, this was their ninth loss by three or more goals.
The Player: Last week, Georgia Yeoman-Dale scored two goals in two minutes against Perth. This week, she was rewarded with a spot in the starting XI for Canberra. Yeoman-Dale added another goal to her tally to bring her to three goals in two matches. A speedy player that seems to be finding good form just in time for the semifinals, Yeoman-Dale could be an X-factor.
Worth A Shout: Sally Shipard got her first start since her long term knee injury and she did not fail to impress. Just ten minutes into her return Shipard sent home a fantastic pass from Lori Lindsey after a solid piece of team build up play from Canberra. They seem to be a team getting hot at the right time.
The Narrative: After a season of giving up the late goals, Adelaide finally scored a late one of their own as they kept Brisbane from earning an important three points that would have helped their chances for a W-League home final. Those chances seem slim now as their performance appears to have doomed them to fourth place to finish the regular season, meaning they’ll have to win a championship on the road.
The Player: Just eleven minutes after being subbed onto the field, Emily Gielnik gave her team a lead with her third goal of the season. Gielnik has been fantastic off the bench for Brisbane this season, providing an offensive threat and lots of energy, which is something that could be key come playoff time.
Worth A Shout: I think if Hayley Raso hadn’t been subbed out of this game for Brisbane the scoreline could have looked much different, and the Roar may have gone home with a full three points. Raso was harassing the back line from the get go and had several shots that would have been goals if not for superb work from Melissa Barberi.
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Canulli 95’) – 3 Sydney FC (Khamis 8’, Taylor 37’ 57’)
The Narrative: It was the second edition of the Sydney derby in under a month and while the scoreline was a bit different, the end result was the same as the first derby. After suffering their first loss of the season to Canberra, Sydney was looking to recover with three points and further solidify their first place spot on the table. While the dream of an undefeated campaign is gone, Sydney is still playing fine soccer.
The Player: Jodie Taylor is absolutely tearing it up. The W-league’s leading goalscorer added two more goals to her total, bringing her to ten total goals for the season. Taylor almost has as many goals as she does W-League appearances! Despite bagging a brace, Taylor also had the assist on Sydney’s first goal. She does it all, folks.
Worth A Shout: While her penalty kick goal was merely a consolation for an outplayed Wanderers squad, it was nice to see Catherine Canulli score for one last time in front of her home fans. Canulli will be retiring after the end of this W-League season. Congrats on a great career!
Team Of The Week: Canberra United
Canberra United is the only team to have defeated Sydney FC this season. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, Canberra followed it up with a huge offensive explosion winning 5-0 over Newcastle. Sure, its expected for Canberra to play well against the last place team in the league, but consider these facts: the win extends Canberra’s win streak to four games, their longest all season, and it was the second game in which they’ve scored five goals in just three games. This team is on fire just in time for the playoffs.
Next Week’s Game to Watch: Sydney FC vs Canberra United
The clash of the titans as number one (Sydney FC) takes on number two (Canberra United) on the W-League table. The winner of this game is assured a home final, where as the loser could be passed by Melbourne. Sydney will be looking for revenge after Canberra handed them their first loss of the season, and as for Canberra they’ll want to continue the excellent form they have been on for the past month. This game could definitely be a preview of the 2014 W-League final.