W-League Round 2 Is In The Books
Adelaide United 0 – 2 Melbourne Victory (DeVanna 40’, Friend 59’)
The Narrative: A Melbourne squad that was looking for some redemption after their 5-1 opening week loss to Sydney FC took on an Adelaide United team that gave up the full three points in stoppage time in their opening match. Melbourne looked to be on the warpath in this one, fueled by their heavy loss last week. While the score line was only 2-0 in favor of Melbourne, it could have been much more. With the Victory pressing the whole game and forcing plenty of turnovers, Melbourne was unlucky not to score more goals. Regardless, Melbourne should be happy with the result as they seem to have gotten back on track for another season at the top of the table. While Adelaide was perhaps hoping to rebound from their disappointing tie, they were no match for Melbourne.
The Player: Caitlin Friend was all over the field during the match. The forward scored on a nice header in the second half to put three points safely in the hands of Melbourne. But even before she broke through with the goal, she had an impact on the match. Friend was slotting passes through to players all game long and put her teammates in excellent position to score.
Worth A Shout: Two weeks in a row and two shout outs from me for goalkeeper Melissa Barberi. An argument could be made that if any other keeper were in the net for Adelaide, the score line would have been much uglier. Barberi had several excellent saves in the first half and held off Melbourne for as long as she could until DeVanna’s converted a penalty kick in the 40th minute.
Sydney FC 4 (Rollason 45’, Kerr 68’, Taylor 80’ 89’) – 0 Newcastle Jets
The Narrative: Who can stop Sydney FC? Just one week after their complete decimation of Melbourne Victory, Sydney FC continued to flex their goal scoring muscles against a down Newcastle Jets team. The first half was a back and forth affair with plenty of chances for both sides. While Sydney didn’t exactly start the match in perfect form, they improved as the match went on and handily beat a young Jets team. While the scoreline might not show it, Newcastle have been particularly resilient in the early stages of this 2013-2014 campaign, as they fought hard against Sydney and probably deserved a goal to show for it.
The Player: Jodie Taylor has been outstanding for Sydney just two games into her return to the Westfield W-League. With three goals in two games, Taylor seems to be fitting right in with a prolific Sydney squad. In the first half of this game, Taylor had several good looks on goal but just couldn’t finish. It seemed that almost every play involved Taylor streaking into the box or firing off a close chance. As the game wore on, Taylor seemed to hit her stride and finished things off late for Sydney with a pair of goals.
Worth A Shout: Hannah Beard scored one of Newcastle’s two goals in their season opener and was worthy of a few more in the Jets match with Sydney. In a game that saw its fair share of close chances, Beard went close on several occasions and she did a good job of pushing the attack into the final third. Beard had a good chance from range to test the keeper, and it narrowly missed just high.
Perth Glory 0 – 3 Brisbane Roar (Butt 3’, Polkinghorne 63’, Chapman 83’)
The Narrative: Brisbane was looking to bounce back after their unexpected shutout loss to open the season and did just that against a Perth team that was hoping to continue their success from the previous week. While conceding no goals for Perth is certainly a defensive improvement for Brisbane, they were without goalkeeper Nadine Angerer for most of the match. Angerer left after just 15 minutes with an apparent quad injury. Despite this, Perth still couldn’t find the back of the net, even with plenty of chances throughout the game. On the other hand, Brisbane’s offense seemed to wake up after last week with Tameka Butt finally getting a goal on the stat sheet.
The Player: Defender Claire Polkinghorne not only scored a goal for her side but also kept several from happening on the defensive side. For most of the game, Polkinghorne had the task of keeping Perth’s Kate Gill under control. The advantage went to Polkinghorne as Gill never really had any substantial chances in the match, except early on when Gill had a goal called back for offsides. Polkinghorne’s goal came from a bit of luck as the ball just fell to her feet after Perth failed to clear out a corner.
Worth A Shout: My shout out for this game isn’t for a player or a coach this week but rather an accomplishment. Perth’s loss to Brisbane was their first regular season home loss in seven games. Their last home loss was a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Sydney FC on January 7th of 2012. An impressive streak for Brisbane to end, especially when you consider they lost two players to injury in the match.
Canberra United 2 (Heyman 25’, Ochs 41’) – 0 Western Sydney Wanderers
The Narrative: Canberra may not have scored as many goals as Sydney FC this week but they’ve stayed step for step with them so far. As one of the two undefeated teams in the league, Canberra has looked solid in both of their outings. First was a shock win last week against Brisbane and they followed that up with a win over a Wanderers squad that was lucky to get a point in their opening match. With their large group of loanees for this season, Canberra seems to be making a push for playoff positioning after missing out last year.
The Player: Forward Michelle Heyman has had quite the start to her W-League campaign, with three goals in two games. While usually its takes players time to acclimate to playing with each other, Heyman seems to have gelled with Washington Spirit imports Lori Lindsey and Stephanie Ochs right off the bat. Heyman also had the assist on Ochs’ goal in the first half. Finishing and distributing has been almost too easy for Heyman in the early stages of this season.
Worth A Shout: While Canberra’s offense has been grabbing the headlines in the early part of the season, their defense has been equally as strong. Goalkeeper Lydia Williams has started the season off with two straight clean sheets for Canberra. While she hasn’t exactly been tested against an offensively superior squad, the stats still speak for themselves.
Team Of The Week: Sydney FC
Sydney FC will most likely be my team of the week until they finally manage to lose a game, and it doesn’t seem that it will happen in the near future. Sure, the scoreline of the win over Newcastle wasn’t exactly indicative of how close the game was, but the best teams find a way to win those games. Take into consideration they were missing one of their key players in Ellyse Perry, it’s pretty scary to imagine just how good this team can be if they stay healthy all season.
Next Week’s Game to Watch: Perth Glory vs Melbourne Victory
This match features two teams with just three points earned from two games, and both are expecting much more than a mid table finish come the end of the season. With the recent success of Canberra United, it seems that there is a chance that one of these two playoff teams from a year ago could be on the outside looking in. While it is very early in the season, a win in this game could go a long way for either squad as they look to gain some momentum and, of course, three points.
Rachael Caldwell will be graduating from the University of Arkansas in 2015 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and minors in Spanish and Business Management. Rachael played soccer from when she was three until her senior year of high school, where she was the captain of her state championship winning team. While she only plays pick up now, she still passionately follows the game and was contacted by Our Game Magazine via Twitter in 2013. Rachael looks forward to writing more for OGM and also writes about women's soccer on her own blog: rachaelfc.wordpress.com.