W-League Recap: Favored Teams And Attendance Records Fall In Round Seven

A 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

Newcastle Jets 4 (Huster 35’, van Egmond 36’ 61’, Own Goal 48’) – 1 Brisbane Roar (Butt 90’)

The Narrative: Oh how the mighty have fallen. Just last season we were discussing Brisbane’s run to the Grand Finale and now they sit at the bottom of the W-League table. Their fall this season mirrors the events of this round with top teams being surprised by bottom three squads. Newcastle have been a pleasant surprise this season, currently sitting in playoff position after going winless last season. These two teams couldn’t be on more opposite paths this season and that was apparent in this game with Brisbane grabbing a consolation goal late. Next, Newcastle plays Adelaide and Brisbane has a challenge against Sydney FC.

The Player: Newcastle’s current win streak sits at two games and so does Emily van Egmond’s scoring streak. That’s not a coincidence. Van Egmond has been a huge part of Newcastle’s turnaround this season, providing offense and getting back to help defensively when necessary. Newcastle is undefeated at home and Van Egmond is a leader on this squad that helps motivate players defend home turf. Her brace today highlighted a clinical Newcastle performance.

Worth A Shout: With goalkeeper Hannah Southwell out due to injury, Claire Coelho stepped into the starting role for Newcastle. Coelho had a massive performance for Newcastle, recording 11 saves during the course of the match. While she let in a last minute goal, that was Coelho’s lone mistake in the game and Newcastle had already wrapped up the three points.

Adelaide United 1 (Moore 61’) – 0 Perth Glory

The Narrative: If you had Perth’s first loss of the season coming at the hands of Adelaide in shutout fashion, please send me the scores for the upcoming round. Perth was once again without forward Sam Kerr due to a lingering hamstring issue, but had proven last week they could score without her. However, that wasn’t the tale this week. The Adelaide defense put on an organized display, keeping both Kate Gill and Marianna Tabain silent throughout the match. Adelaide looks to extend its two game win streak as they face Newcastle, and Perth looks to get back to winning ways against mid-table Melbourne.

The Player: I praised Kristy Moore’s leadership of this young team last week, and I’ll do the same again this week. After a rough start to the season, this team is finding its form and has started to play a much more organized and complete game. Moore finished one of a few chances Adelaide had in this match and it was just enough to hold out for a massive three points. Adelaide started the season off being shutout in four of their first five matches, but Moore has now scored in two straight, which has resulted in two straight wins.

Worth A Shout: It seemed like last season I was giving a shout out to goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri almost every week for keeping the Adelaide defense organized and keeping her team in the game with big time saves. Last year’s Goalkeeper of the year hadn’t had much to work with so far this season but in this match we saw flashes of what earned her the trophy last year.

Melbourne Victory 0 – 1 Canberra United (Sykes 28’)

The Narrative: Canberra United was sinking and sinking fast coming into this match, having won only one of their past four games and gave Adelaide their first win of the season in the process. With this win, it seems they’re right back in the thick of things in the standings. Along with Melbourne, Canberra is one of four teams within a point of each other. It seems that these four teams will be fighting it out for the final three-playoff spots as the season continues, unless Perth has an unparalleled fall from grace at the top of the table. Melbourne will face the aforementioned Perth squad next round, and Canberra faces off against Western Sydney.

The Player: Ashleigh Sykes hasn’t exactly struck terror into the hearts of W-League defenders this season but is still an excellent attacking option on a Canberra squad that looks very strong on paper. Sykes should have had more than one goal in this match as finishing has been an issue for this team all season long, but always seems to do an excellent job of simply being in the right place at the right time. While the forward couldn’t capitalize on Melbourne’s defensive mistake, she was there to finish Heyman’s blocked shot.

Worth A Shout: Back in September the W-League had the highest ever attendance weekend total attendance for a round that didn’t include an A-League double header. Well there was an A-League doubleheader this round, and that resulted in a record-setting crowd of over 14,000 fans for the match between last season’s regular season champs and the Grand Finale winners.

Sydney FC 1 (Spencer 56’) – 2 Western Sydney Wanderers (Winters 16’, Own Goal 61’)

The Narrative: Its becoming increasingly difficult to get a read on this Western Sydney team. This squad has lost by over five goals twice already this season, however each time they have come back to win by a 2-1 scoreline the next round. If anything it shows that this team is incredibly resilient. Finding a way tor rebound after huge losses seems to be a developing theme. The issue is that losing by large margins also seems to be a theme for Western Sydney. As for Sydney, they still sit in second on the ladder, but won’t be pleased to have lost to their rival. They’ll play Brisbane in the next round as Western Sydney faces Canberra 

The Player: There are quite a few tough veteran players on Western Sydney. Helen Petinos, Hannah Beard, and Michelle Carney have all contributed with their veteran leadership this season. However, none of them are my player of the match. That honor goes to Keelin Winters. Winters has played a lot of hard minutes for Western Sydney this season and hasn’t had much to show for it. After being taken down in the box, Winters calmly stepped up and finished the penalty she earned to help her team to a big upset of their rivals.

Worth A Shout: There is one thing you can expect with almost absolute certainty in a Sydney FC match, and that is a goal from Jasmyne Spencer. Spencer has scored in five of Sydney’s seven games this season and has a total of six goals. She’s easily the offensive leader of this team, and is always making dangerous runs behind the defense to create chances. Spencer is the main reason Sydney’s only been shutout once.

Team of the Week

Adelaide United

It was a wild round of upsets this past weekend and none were more impressive than the job Adelaide did against the red-hot Perth Glory. If serving Perth their first loss of the season was not impressive enough, but the shutout effort of the league leaders was the exact opposite of what I expected in this game. Adelaide showed the organized defensive work that we became accustomed to seeing last season. While a few weeks ago they were the last team without a win this season, Adelaide has now won two in a row over teams expected to challenge for the W-League title this year. Hats off to this young Adelaide squad that seems to be growing up fast.

Next Week’s Game to Watch

 Melbourne Victory vs Perth Glory

Both these squads are coming off a loss heading into this game, and both will be eager to get back to their winning ways. Perth is still miles ahead of the pack, and safely in first on the table but will be upset with their shutout loss to Adelaide. As for Melbourne, they haven’t been able to find any consistency this season. They’ve won games against big opponents, but have also lost games to beatable teams. If the season had ended after round 7, last year’s Grand Finale champions wouldn’t even make the playoffs. While its not time to push the panic button yet, Melbourne could still use a win badly next round.