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.
Canberra United 1 (Brush 90’) – 1 Western Sydney Wanderers (Beard 10’)
The Narrative:Western Sydney is one of a few squads that despite the low expectations coming into this season, they continue to fight game in and game out. From that effort, the Wanderers have earned quite a few positive results. While they may be kicking themselves for allowing a stoppage time equalizer, they did well to hold off the Canberra attack. It’s been a relatively toothless attack this season for Canberra, who would to be happy to escape this match with a point. They’ll have to find their finishing touch for their next game against Sydney and Western Sydney matches up with Melbourne.
The Player:Michelle Carney is an absolute rock in the midfield for this Western Sydney team and without question one of the veteran leaders of the squad. Carney kept the Western Sydney offense buzzing in this match with some excellent passes into the final third. After setting up the first goal of the match, Carney almost doubled the Wanderers lead after sending in Helen Petinos on goal. Had Western Sydney really been able to capitalize on Carney’s great game they would have left with the full three points.
Worth A Shout: It should have been three goals for Caitlin Munoz and three points for Canberra. Unfortunately for Canberra neither of those happened. Munoz would have had a goal in the match if she didn’t blast an open chance over the bar, just glanced a header over the bar, or hit the post with a shot. While her hit off the woodwork lead to Canberra’s tying goal, Munoz didn’t get the assist.
Sydney FC 1 (Spencer 85’) – 1 Brisbane Roar (Butt 65’)
The Narrative: A theme for this round of W-League play was missed chances. Both sides had chances to take control of the game but no one could find the back of the net. Goalkeeper play was solid for both sides but really neither ‘keeper was challenged by any means. Regardless, Sydney will be happy with a point while Brisbane continues their inexplicably frustrating season. Next round, Sydney has a showdown pending with Canberra, and Brisbane takes on a motivated Adelaide.
The Player:Make that seven goals on the season for Jasmyne Spencer. The striker is absolutely loving her time in the W-League this season, having scored in six of Sydney FC’s eight games this season. Spencer is now on a two-game scoring streak and is emerging as one of the most consistent offensive scoring threats in the entire league. This goal was one of her biggest, helping her squad come back to grab a point against Brisbane and stay in second place on the ladder.
Worth A Shout: It’s been a rough season for Tameka Butt. Last season, Butt was part of a well-oiled Brisbane midfield core but this season has been a much different story. Brisbane can’t seem to connect consistently on the field. Not sure what’s missing as they returned several key pieces from last year’s squad, Butt being one of them. However, she did notch a goal to help her team earn a point with an excellent one-on-one finish.
The Narrative: Things started out so promisingly for Melbourne in this match. With an early goal, Melbourne seemed to be right where they wanted against the league leaders but an equalizer before halftime set the dominoes falling for the home side. Perth were relentless on the attack in the second half and eventually found a way past Melbourne ‘keeper Cassandra Dimovski to earn three points and give Melbourne its third straight loss. Melbourne will try to turn things around against Western Sydney next round, while Perth returns home to host Newcastle.
The Player: In the recent absence of Sam Kerr, who did return to the field in the second half of this past game, the Perth offense have really been more of an offense by committee with different players contributing each round to get the job done. After last round’s shutout loss, Alanna Kennedy stepped up to start the Perth comeback just before halftime. Kennedy has also been valuable in defense and after Melbourne’s early goal she was part of a shutdown team effort to keep the home side off the board for the rest of the game.
Worth A Shout: While Melbourne ‘keeper Cassandra Dimovski gets the loss, she essentially stood on her head to keep Melbourne in the match. Dimovski made several spectacular saves in the game, but unfortunately the 20-year-old just didn’t have enough offensive help to get the win she undoubtedly deserved.
Team of the Week
After being upset by Adelaide this season, Perth got right back to business with a win against Melbourne. While Perth still haven’t completely dominated a team for a full 90 minutes, they’re still notching wins and at the end of the day that’s all the matters. Sitting in first place with a seven-point cushion is nice, but recall the comfortable lead Sydney FC had last season, as they were caught by Canberra to lose the regular season title. Nothing is guaranteed yet, but Perth seems to be on a collision course for the first playoff seed. As long as they keep winning, its hard not to put them as team of the week.
Next Week’s Game to Watch
Canberra United vs. Sydney FC
Perth is seven points ahead of second place and seem intent on holding onto first place for the entire season. Behind them are six teams within a point of each other, and are all set to battle for the final three playoff spots as the season continues. Second and third are currently held by Sydney and Canberra respectively. Canberra’s had a less than dominant season while Sydney has been a pleasant success story. Points are crucial for both teams, as it seems there’s only three playoff spots to fight for. Nothing is a must win at this point, but three points in this match will go a long way.