The 2013-2014 W-League regular season has officially come to an end, leaving us with four teams to battle it out for the right to be called the champion. Entering the weekend, Sydney FC was atop the standings with Canberra close behind and Melbourne threatening. This weekend’s results however, made an impact on the final standings before the playoffs.
Newcastle Jets 2 (Beard 32’, Simon 91’) – 2 Adelaide United (Moore 10’, 28’)
The Narrative: This was one of two games this weekend that, no matter the result, would have no impact on playoff seeding. Despite that, this match still had plenty of story lines. For Newcastle, this tie may have well as been a victory. With the point, the Jets avoided the worst ever season in W-League history. As for Adelaide, the unfortunate curse of the stoppage time goal struck again.
The Player: This is not only the first time this year Newcastle has earned a point but also the first time I’ve selected a Jets player as the player of the game. After firing shot after shot on goal, Hannah Beard started the scoring for Newcastle and probably should have had more than one goal on the day.
Worth A Shout: Being a captain on a struggling team is a difficult position to be in. The fans wonder if you’re the right leader on the team and the players look to you for guidance when things are inevitably going wrong. Jets captain Gema Simon has done as well as a player in her position could this season and capped things off beautifully by scoring a late goal to earn her team a point.
Perth Glory 2 (Gill 48’ 84’) – 1 Western Sydney Wanderers (Van Egmond 15’)
The Narrative: An injured and underachieving Perth team looking to end the season on a high note as they took on a Western Sydney squad hoping to get into the double digits for the season point total. Unfortunately for the Wanderers, after they took an early lead they couldn’t stop Perth’s comeback and fell in their final game of the season. Perth’s points helped them leap up to fifth place in the standings.
The Player: Kate Gill was one of many Perth players to miss extended time this season, but has been in good form since her return in 2014. Gill continued that form into the last game of the season, scoring two goals to help lead her team to a final three points.
Worth A Shout: After scoring in her final Wanderers home game, Catherine Cannuli wore the captain’s band for her squad in her last ever W-League match. She came close to scoring, but was denied by the crossbar. Cannuli ends her career after playing in the W-League for five seasons.
Brisbane Roar 1 (Gorry 41’) – 0 Melbourne Victory
The Narrative: Heading into this game Melbourne was looking to grab three points and if results in the Canberra/Sydney game went their way, they could jump up to second place and host a semifinal match. Sadly for them, fellow finalist Brisbane, who had no chance of home field advantage in the finals, decided to play spoiler and ended the regular season with a competitive shut out win.
The Player: Katrina Gorry was a bit quiet in this match for what we have become used to seeing from her, but she still contributed in the most important way for her team, scoring the game’s only goal. Gorry’s free kick was sublime, curling into the far corner of the net.
Worth A Shout: Anytime a back and forth match like this one ends 1-0, you have to look to the goalkeeper of the winning team. Nadine Angerer had possibly her best W-League game to date, and it’s just in time for the playoffs. Angerer made some fantastic saves in this one, and with a little help from an early shot saved off the line by one of her teammates and then some more help from the post denying a Jess Fishlock chance, she earned the shutout.
Sydney FC 1 (Kerr 24’) – 2 Canberra United (Munoz 13’ pen, Ochs 60’)
The Narrative: Number one vs number two and a potential W-League final preview, this clash of the titans did not disappoint. Just two weeks since Canberra handed Sydney their first loss of the season, Sydney was looking for revenge. However, with the help of a handball penalty, Canberra was the team leaving with three points. Canberra ended the season in first with 27 points and the Premiership.
The Player: My goodness does the Houston Dash have to be happy about the way Stephanie Ochs’ loan has gone. Obviously, Canberra is also very happy with how things have transpired. Ochs came in clutch once again with her game winning goal for Canberra, bringing her season total to six goals.
Worth A Shout: Sam Kerr had the only goal of the game for Sydney, which is rare. In fact, this is only the fourth game this whole season that Sydney has been held to one goal. Kerr was determined to make sure Sydney didn’t suffer their first shutout in the final game of the year, and she’ll be raring to go for the semis.
Team Of The Week: Canberra United
Canberra United is still the only team to have defeated Sydney FC this season. Not just once, but twice. With the win this weekend, Canberra extends their win streak to five games. That’s their longest win streak all season long and just in time for their home semifinal against Brisbane. While Canberra has been streaky at points this season with their scoring, they seem to have found their stride as they head into a match up against one of the best keepers in the world in Brisbane’s Nadine Angerer. As they say, when it comes to single elimination tournaments, it’s all about momentum.
Next Week’s Game to Watch: Sydney FC vs Melbourne Victory
It’s admittedly hard to pick one semifinal over the other, but to me this one screams offensive firepower. Both Sydney and Melbourne have scored a ton of goals this season, and it’s going to come down to which back four can slow down the opposition. Whether is Jess Fishlock and Lisa De Vanna for Melbourne or Sydney’s Jodie Taylor and Sam Kerr, the keepers could have a lot of work on their hands.