[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 Narrative: Just when I’m ready to write off Brisbane they show up and grab a necessary win against a very beatable team. It’s gotten to the point where I’m not entirely sure what to expect from this team. By no means has this season lived up to expectations and with the recent rise of Newcastle being in playoff contention, I doubt they’re fighting for a playoff spot down the road, but this win is a step in the right direction. As for Adelaide, their recent success is totally in the rear view mirror, as they failed to continue the organized defense we’ve seen flashes of this season. They play Sydney next while Brisbane faces Melbourne.
The Player: Tameka Butt is doing her best to keep Brisbane relevant this season but unfortunately she just hasn’t had enough help. Butt has four goals in Brisbane’s past three games and is currently on a three-game scoring streak. This brace was a big one, helping Brisbane to a much needed win and move them out of dead last in the standings. While that’s a bit of a consolation prize, it has to feel good to be on a two-game unbeaten streak. If Brisbane starts some remarkable run up the table, it’s because of Butt.
Worth A Shout: A big reason Brisbane’s offense matched its highest goal total of the season in this match was because of Hayley Raso’s performance in the midfield. Raso assisted Brisbane’s two first-half goals, showing off some excellent passing and vision throughout the match. The midfielder has shown flashes of this during the season, but like Brisbane as a whole, just can’t find consistency in her role.
The Narrative: Perth continues to demonstrate why they are first in the table by a comfortable eight points. This match was a chance for Newcastle to pull off an upset and show that they are legit contenders for a playoff spot this season. While they haven’t played themselves out yet, it was still a missed opportunity. As for Perth, they showed up and took care of business. They’re focused, and with Sam Kerr back in the fold, more dangerous than ever. So long as they continue to take care of business, they’re the favorites for the Grand Finale. Next round they face Western Sydney and Newcastle hosts Canberra.
The Player: It seems that Sam Kerr’s hamstring issue is a thing of the past for now. After coming off the bench last match, Kerr worked her way back to the starting lineup this week and boy was that a good thing for Perth. While finishing has been a bit of an problem for Kerr at times, she announced her return in stunning fashion. Both of her goals came as a direct result of her speed, as Kerr was able to get in behind the defense on multiple plays.
Worth A Shout: Elisa D’Ovidio has been an absolute super sub in Perth’s past two games and has been making an impact off the bench all season. For two games in a row now, D’Ovidio has come off the bench and scored in under ten minutes of her introduction. The forward has done a great job clinching games for Perth, and shutting down any chance of an opponent’s comeback.
Canberra United 3 (Rojahn 33’, Heyman 40’, Ochs 76’) – 0 Sydney FC
The Narrative: Coming into this game, Canberra was in a bit of a skid while Sydney was sitting in second, a position where everyone expected Canberra to be heading into the season. But luckily for Canberra, the game of soccer isn’t determined based on where teams are coming into the game. The home side grabbed a massive win and leapfrogged their opponents into second on the table. A shutout win against a solid squad will go a long way to stop the bleeding for Canberra but they have to find some consistency. Sydney will no doubt be upset with the result, but it’s a blip on the radar for them. They’ll visit Adelaide next and Canberra plays Newcastle.
The Player: As Michelle Heyman goes, so goes Canberra United. There have been several games this season where Heyman has either lead her team to victory or missed a few sure chances that would have earned her team three points. By no means is she solely responsible for the team’s results, but when she plays well their chances of winning seem to skyrocket. Heyman not only grabbed a goal but also notched an assist. It was a full performance from the striker.
Worth A Shout: Stephanie Ochs was an offensive menace in this game, constantly challenging the keeper with incredibly powerful shots and getting down the flanks and putting crosses into dangerous positions. Ochs only got one goal to speak for, but kept consistent offensive pressure on Sydney.
Western Sydney Wanderers 0 – 3 Melbourne Victory (Catley 5’, Quigley 38’, De Vanna 74’)
The Narrative: In a week that saw inconsistent teams show up and grab important points, Melbourne was right there with Canberra and Brisbane. This was a total performance for Melbourne, which was much needed and they earn a shutout win worthy of three points. They’re now tied on points with Sydney, but sit in third. Western Sydney continues to struggle, but in a year of rebuilding there will be games such as this, but they’ve come a long way from the 10-1 losing scoreline we saw in round four. Up next Western Sydney will look for a big upset over Perth and Melbourne faces Brisbane.
The Player: Lisa De Vanna showed up big time for Melbourne this week, something they’ll need from her down the road if they want to hold on to their potential semi-final spot. De Vanna’s engine was running all game long, making runs, pressuring defenders, and scoring a game-clinching goal. She should have had more than one, but thanks to an excellent team performance that didn’t come back to bite the visitors. De Vanna also had an assist in the first-half.
Worth A Shout: Melbourne Captain Steph Catley doesn’t get on the scoreboard often, but her goal in the opening minutes of the game set the tone for Melbourne. This was a game they were going to win and win it in style. Catley also marshaled the defense to a shutout performance, despite several forays into the final third by Western Sydney.
Team of the Week
Canberra had been on a downhill slide the past few weeks, losing to squads above them and below them in the table alike. This week presented a big match up against Sydney, who sat second in the table entering the weekend. Having won just one of their past four games Canberra came out and played this game angry. They put some big time goals on the board and managed to shutout Sydney as well as keeping red-hot striker Jasmyne Spencer off the score sheet, something that only two other teams have been able to do this season. Canberra could be working their way back to the team we saw last season, and it all starts with this result.
Next Week’s Game to Watch
Newcastle Jets vs Canberra United
After just singing the praises of Canberra in the team of the week section, I’m a bit wary of their match up next week with Newcastle. Newcastle has had a lot of bright moments this season and that’s a big reason they’re only two points out of fourth place and not sitting in the league’s basement. Both of these teams have struggled to maintain consistency and it will be crucial for Canberra to carry their momentum from last week but not have their heads wrapped up in their previous win. If they can’t focus on the task at hand, I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if Newcastle swooped in and grabbed three points.