Westfield W-League Recap: Perth & Sydney Remain Undefeated PLUS New Attendance Records Set

[dropcap size=small]A[/dropcap] recap of the action in the Westfield W-League, featuring the back story to the games, the players who made the difference, team of the week, and a look ahead to the match ups you don’t want to miss from Rachael Caldwell.

The Games

Western Sydney Wanderers 0 – 2 Sydney FC (Spencer 12’; Harrison 60’) 

The Narrative: This edition of the Sydney Derby went the way of Sydney FC, something we’ve often seen. But the major difference in this version of the Sydney Derby as opposed to past matches was the crowd. With more than 3,000 fans on hand to witness these rivals face off, the disappointment of the scoreline for this young Western Sydney team was somewhat muted. The crowd was the fifth biggest in W-League history and the most for a stand-alone regular season game (the rest of the top five includes two grand finales and two double headers with the Australian Men’s Professional League, the A-League). With the result, Sydney FC remains one of just two undefeated teams left in the W-league and faces a tough Melbourne Victory squad next while Western Sydney continues to search for its first win as Perth comes to town.

The Player: Sydney FC was the highest scoring team in the W-League last season by a mile but lost their top three goalscorers coming into this season. Considering the changes to the squad from last year, a lack of offense could be expected. Enter Jasmyne Spencer, stage right. The speedy forward has been a menace to start the season, scoring three goals in three games. Working alongside Renee Rollason, the two seem to be forming quite a striker duo for Sydney.

Worth A Shout: Can I say the fans? I’m going to say the fans. The record attendance from this match contributed to a weekend total attendance of more than 6,000 for the four W-League games. That’s the highest ever attendance for a round of matches that didn’t include a double header with an A-League squad. It’s nice to see support grow for such a fun league.

Brisbane Roar 3 (Gielnik 10’; Raso 28’ 51’) – 1 Newcastle Jets (Dobson 77’)

The Narrative: Newcastle came into this season with zero expectations and after a surprising win against Melbourne to start the year, the Jets have now fallen back to a familiar sub .500 record. On the other hand, Brisbane dropped two in a row to start the season which was a bit surprising coming from a team that was last season’s runner-up and had several key returning pieces. This game was a big chance for both teams to right the ship and Brisbane grabbed a huge three points with an impressive outing. Next week will be tougher as they face a hungry Canberra side. As for Newcastle, they have a good chance a grabbing at least a point against an equally matched Adelaide Side.

The Player: First win of the season for Brisbane came with a Hayley Raso brace. While Gielnik has produced the team’s only other goals this season and probably deserves a nod for performing when her teammates were not, a lot of Brisbane’s success depends on Raso’s performances as was obviously evident in this one. As player’s are starting to re-find their finishing touch here early in the season, Raso will need to maintain her’s to take some pressure off of Gielnik.

Worth A Shout: Another player key to Brisbane’s success is Katrina Gorry. Along with Raso they haven’t provided much to talk about so far this season, but Gorry was pulling the strings in this match. The midfielder provided two assists in the game and seems to be back on good form. She was a big reason the Roar made last year’s grand finale and will be called upon throughout the season to compete with other strong midfielders in the league.

Perth Glory 3 (D’Ovidio 45’; Kerr 56’; Gill 59’) – 1 Adelaide United (Woods 46’)

The Narrative: Perth has yet to put together a truly dominant 90-minute performance this season and it seemed that all of their offseason acquisitions are still acclimating to playing with each other. Regardless, Perth is one of two undefeated team’s left in the W-League and they certainly are deserving of their record. Adelaide is still searching for its first win and the beginning of its 2014-2015 campaign hasn’t been kind, hampered with a toothless attack that has scored only one goal through three matches. Perth’s quest for perfection continues against a less than dangerous Western Sydney side next week and Adelaide looks to earn its first point of the season against Newcastle.

The Player: After a frustrating first two weeks, Sam Kerr finally found the back of the goal for Perth. It wasn’t easy though, as the forward hit the post, blasted another over the crossbar and was a victim of an excellent Melissa Barberi save all in the first half. Her second-half goal was an important one for Perth and it would stand to be the eventual game-winning goal. I’m sure Kerr is happy to finally have scored her first goal of the season, and we can expect many more from her.

Worth A Shout: It’s been a tough start to the season for Adelaide who were shutout in both of its first two games. So my shout out goes to Lisa-Marie Woods for scoring the first goal of the season for the Reds. It was a big time goal to as it tied things up at one and put Adelaide right back into the match. It was another tough result for a team that fights to the final whistle, but it should feel good to finally get on the board.

Canberra United 2 (Lindsey 59’; Heyman 80’) – 4 Melbourne Victory (Barnes 38’; Catley 42’; De Vanna 48’; Simon 68’)

The Narrative: With this result, Melbourne has proven their season-opening loss to Newcastle can be chalked up to nothing more than first game of the season jitters. Canberra had been impressive through their first two matches but the first real challenge of the season was against this Melbourne squad. Melbourne had control from the get-go, going into half time up 2-0 and extended their lead just minutes into the second half. Canberra finally found an answer in the second half but it was too late as Melbourne was able to bag another goal to essentially secure the win. It’s a big win for Melbourne who now must face undefeated Sydney FC. Canberra will look to regroup against Brisbane.

The Player: Lisa De Vanna tore up Canberra’s back line in this game. Her trademark speed was on display all match long, and her runs into space drew away defenders and allowed room for her teammates to make big plays. It helps that De Vanna had a goal for herself in this match as she lobbed Canberra’s goalkeeper Chantel Jones from outside the box on a great through ball. It was the forward’s first goal of the season, and all evidence from this game points to her being back on track to terrorize back lines all season long which should be fun to follow.

Worth A Shout: Michelle Heyman continues her absolutely ridiculous start to the season. She’s now scored in two of Canberra’s three games this season and in the lone game she didn’t score, she had the game-winning assist. While her goal in this match ended up being more of a consolation goal, that doesn’t take away from the red-hot start she’s had to the year.

Team of the Week

Melbourne Victory

After a surprising loss to Newcastle to start the season, the reigning champs have rebounded nicely. After notching three points against a youthful Western Sydney side, this week’s match up with Canberra loomed large on the calendar. With all sorts of star power on both sides, Melbourne stepped up big time and put up four goals against last year’s regular season champs Canberra United. Considering Heyman and Lori Lindsey both had goals in this one, I didn’t expect to be lauding the performance of Melbourne after this one.

Next Week’s Game to Watch

Sydney FC vs Melbourne Victory

Is Sydney FC as good as its record suggests? Well next week’s match up with an in form Melbourne Victory side should provide plenty of answers. Sydney has put in some impressive performances just three games into the season, including a gutsy 10-player win over Brisbane. Jasmyne Spencer will be going up against an arguably strong defense than what’s she has seen so far, so it’s a big chance for the forward to show what she’s got. It’s an early opportunity for Sydney to show they’re for real and for Melbourne to continue to put that loss to Newcastle in the rearview mirror.