Westfield W-League Round 2 Recap: Three Left Undefeated with Canberra atop the Table

A recap of the action in the Westfield W-League, featuring the backstory to the games, the players who made the difference, team of the week, and a look ahead to the matchups you don’t want to miss from Rachael Caldwell.

The Games

Newcastle Jets 1 (Andrews 62’) – 2 Perth Glory (Tabain 34’; Kennedy 45+1’)

The Narrative: Two undefeated teams entered this match and the re-tooled Perth Glory exited the match with three points. Despite a familiar result on the scoreboard that Newcastle saw all too often last season, the Jets continues to look much improved over last year’s squad. While Perth had a comfortable 2-0 lead at the half, the home side continued to push for goal. The scoreline in this one easily could have been much higher due to the offensive pressure displayed by both teams. After a first half of missed chances, both sides had goals called off in the second half. Perth remains one of three undefeated W-League sides and faces Adelaide next round. As for Newcastle, they’ll head on the road to face a struggling Brisbane Roar. 

The Player: Alanna Kennedy scored her first goal for Perth in excellent fashion. Not only did the defender show a bit of finishing ability to put the visitors in comfortable position heading into halftime, she also helped keep Newcastle to just one goal in the match. At times when defenders get forward into the attack they don’t track back to defend. That wasn’t the case for Kennedy this round who gave an excellent all-around performance in her side’s victory.

Worth A Shout: While Tara Andrews’ goal only ended up being a consolation for Newcastle, the forward was a dangerous option for the home side all game long. Andrews had several excellent chances in the first half that she just couldn’t put home. Despite the lack of a finishing touch, it seemed like Andrews was constantly in behind the Perth defense creating issues.

Adelaide United 0 – 1 Canberra United (Ochs 61’)

The Narrative: Canberra looked to keep pace with an undefeated Perth side by notching a win against an Adelaide squad still looking for its first win of the season. It wasn’t a dominating win like last round, but Canberra showed the ability to grab a win even if it wasn’t in the prettiest fashion. For teams that want to become champions, that’s a quality you have to have. As for Adelaide, they sit second to last on the table with two disappointing losses in a row to start the year. There were chances to be had in this game, but they couldn’t find a way past the Canberra defense. Next week when they face Perth, they’ll have to make some changes while Canberra will look to continue their streak against Melbourne.

The Player: One of the catalysts to last season’s success, Michelle Heyman has started this year in absolutely fantastic form. With two goals and an assist already, it seems that she’s the backbone of Canberra’s strong midfield. The midfielder was a force all game, and really the penalty she earned after charging into the box in the first half should have been finished by Caitlin Munoz to give her team a 2-0 win. Either way, Heyman’s assist was enough in a tough match.

Worth A Shout: It was a bit surprising not to see Ochs’ name on the score sheet last round when Canberra hung four goals on Western Sydney. Perhaps the switch from defender back to forward should be taken into consideration. Regardless, she opened up her 2014 account with the lone goal in the match to ensure Canberra’s undefeated start continues.

Brisbane Roar 1 (Gielnik 37’) – 2 Sydney FC (Rollason 17’, 76’)

The Narrative: Brisbane will be kicking itself for letting this one slip through its fingers. While Sky Blue came out of the gates quickly and controlled the opening minutes of the game, Brisbane settled in and found an equalizer to take things into half tied. After a hard fought first half, momentum seemed to swing fully toward the home side, as Sydney went down to 10 players after Teigen Allen received a second yellow. Despite having a player advantage, Brisbane couldn’t capitalize and Sydney continued to press forward, finding a massive game-winning goal. Next, Brisbane will continue to look for its first win of the season as it faces Newcastle, and Sydney matches up with a struggling Western Sydney squad.

The Player: Round of applause for Renee Rollason, who quite possibly has scored a goal of the year candidate in just the second round of the season (highly suggest you check it out here) with her game-winning free kick. The forward’s performance was huge for Sydney, and helped the squad earn an unlikely three points after going down to 10 players. Rollason’s first goal was a good one as well, sliding to the back post to finish a solid cross into the box.

Worth A Shout: Make that two weeks in a row that Sydney FC keeper Casey Dumont earns a big ol’ shout out. The ‘keeper turned in another solid performance for the Blues, and probably deserved a clean sheet. The shutout surely would have been hers if her own defender hadn’t taken her out to clear the way for Brisbane’s lone goal of the match.

Melbourne Victory 5 (Jackson 20’; Quigley 24’, 47’; De Vanna 52’; Koca 74’) – 3 Western Sydney Wanderers (Winters 12’, 56’; Carney 90+3’)

The Narrative: The first goalfest of the 2014-2015 W-League season is officially in the books and we’re just two rounds in. It was a back and forth first half with both teams taking advantage of scoring off set pieces. Melbourne fought back from a 1-0 deficit to enter the half leading, 2-1, and then took over the contest in the second 45 minutes. Western Sydney put up a good fight, but they can’t seem to figure out how to stop leaking goals, allowing nine goals through its first two games. Melbourne will be happy to be back on track with three well-earned points, facing undefeated Canberra next round. For Western Sydney, it doesn’t get any easier, as it has a derby date with Sydney FC.

The Player: Is it possible to give this to anyone but Christine Nairn? I’m not sure how often you see a player put up five assists in one game, especially in their debut with a new club. It seems that the midfielder will fit in just fine with her new squad as she showed off all of her distribution skills in this match, assisting off a set piece and in the run of play. Perhaps the only thing she didn’t do was score a goal, and she was even close to doing that with an excellent strike late in the second half.

Worth A Shout: While an argument can be made for Racheal Quigley, I’m not sure she bags a brace in this game without Nairn’s ridiculous performance. For that reason, I’m giving a shout out to Keelin Winters. Winters put in a solid performance in a losing effort, scoring a brace of her own in the match. Her free kick goal started the scoring, but unfortunately the Wanderers defense wasn’t up to par to earn three points from this match.

Team of the Week

Sydney FC

All three undefeated team’s turned in team-of-the-week worthy performances this round, but I’ve got to give it to Sydney FC after a gutsy win over a Brisbane Roar side desperate for its first win in the young season. While going down to 10 players certainly isn’t indicative of the smartest play, being able to pull out a win despite a player disadvantage is impressive to me. I’m not sure this squad is as dangerous as Canberra seems, but they’ve showed they’ll be a hard team to beat all season long.

Next Week’s Game to Watch

Canberra United vs. Melbourne Victory

Both of these team’s have put up an impressive amount of goals against Western Sydney this season, and it will be interesting to see if either offense will have a spark in this game. It’s also a chance to see how each defense does against a stronger attack than what they’ve faced so far, and the midfield battle between Michelle Heyman and Christine Nairn should be an excellent one. It’s a big test to see if the Melbourne that showed up against Newcastle or the one that faced Western Sydney is the real team.