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Westfield W-League Round Three: Log Jam at the Top of the Table

After a break due to the Westfield Matlida’s international friendlies with China, the W-League got back to business with round three. Sydney FC and Canberra United were idle this weekend in league competition, but the Sky Blues are currently playing in the International Women’s Club Championship in Japan. Sydney beat NTV Beleza 1-0 this past weekend to advance to the semifinals. They will face Chelsea of the FAWSL on Wednesday with the winner gaining a spot in the Finals on Sunday against either Nadeshiko League winners INAC Kobe Leonessa or Chile’s Colo Colo, the 2012 Copa Libertadores Feminina Champion. But here’s how Round Three played out in the W-League:

Adelaide United 3 (Powell 25’ 32’, Gummer 30’) – 1 Newcastle Jets (Courtenay 90’)

The Narrative: The last W-League match of November started out evenly, with Newcastle even having a few looks on goal themselves. Things turned Adelaide’s way rather quickly however as they scored three goals in just a matter of seven minutes in the first half. After their goal outburst Adelaide continued to press and at times it seemed as through they could have a larger lead going into halftime. In the second half, Newcastle was able to regain their footing and added a goal of their own in the waning moments of the game, making the score line look a little more bearable for the bottom of the table Jets.

The Player: Norwegian international Lisa-Marie Woods made her debut for Adelaide in the match. It was a solid outing for Woods; who last played in the W-League back in 2011 with the Perth Glory. She was instrumental in setting up Powell’s second goal of the game. In a weekend of many player debuts Woods’ certainly wasn’t the flashiest but she put in a solid 90 minutes.

Worth A Shout: On the other end of the scale, Rachael Quigley of Adelaide United made her 50th W-League appearance when she was substituted on in the second half of the game. Quigley is the first ever Adelaide player to reach 50 appearances, and considering she’s only 22 years old, it’s a pretty impressive milestone.

Perth Glory 1 (Julien 84’) – 3 Melbourne Victory (Fishlock 24’, Friend 32’, De Vanna 82’)

The Narrative: The downward slide continues for the Glory while Melbourne’s offense propelled them to another win. After losing their first regular season home match in almost a year in Round Two, the loss to Melbourne gave Perth their second loss in a row on their home turf. Perth is now in a tough spot with just three points through three rounds. If it wasn’t for their late consolation goal in this game, Perth would have been shutout in consecutive matches. As for Melbourne, it seems that the opening round 5-1 thrashing to Sydney FC is all but a memory, as they have won their past two games in convincing fashion. In the past two games Melbourne has scored five goals and allowed just one.

The Player: While she didn’t show up in the goal column, Ella Barilla was a key component in two of Melbourne’s goals. Barilla’s great passing ability was on display in this game, assisting both Friend’s and De Vanna’s goals with excellent through balls. Not only did Barilla make an impact offensively but she was just as important in helping Melbourne defensively, clearing two balls off the line to deny Perth any more goals.

Worth A Shout: Another player making her return to the W-League is Jess Fishlock. Despite dealing with a great amount of jet lag coming in after playing World Cup Qualifying matches for Wales the week before, Fishlock had a dynamic debut to the 2013-2014 season. She got the scoring started in the 24th minute of a beautiful shot from distance and had several other chances throughout the game.

Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Cannuli 43’) – 4 Brisbane Roar (Gorry 49’ 81’ 90’, Raso 52’)

The Narrative: Brisbane’s won two games in a row since dropping their season opener and now sit tied for first place at the top of the table with Sydney and Canberra (who have only played two games each) with six points. Being without star ‘keeper Nadine Angerer and down 1-0 going into the second half, Brisbane didn’t seem to be bothered as they came back to win the game easily. Western Sydney can’t be happy with its recent results however new addition Camille Levin did make her W-League debut and could help turn things around for the Wanderers as the season progresses. 

The Player: It’s impossible to pick anybody but Katrina Gorry as the player of this game. With her second half hat trick, Gorry continues to build her excellent goal scoring form that started with the Matildas/China series. She scored a goal and assisted on another in the Matildas 2-0 win over China on November 24th and had a large part in setting up Lisa de Vanna’s goal in the Matildas 2-1 win three days later. Combine that with her hat trick this weekend, she will be someone to watch out for in the coming weeks.

Worth A Shout: While she is the backup keeper for Brisbane, Kate Stewart has stepped up big time for the Roar in the absence of German international Nadine Angerer. In both games Stewart has featured in this season, she’s kept a clean sheet in one match and allowed one goal in the other. While its unfortunate not to have one of the best keepers in the world starting for your team, it seems Brisbane is in good hands with Stewart.

Team Of The Week: Brisbane Roar

Realistically I could have stuck with Sydney FC once again this week, but even though they did win in Japan, I felt it was a bit unfair to pick a team that wasn’t even playing in the league this round. Thus, I decided to go with the Brisbane Roar. After their unexpected loss to start the season, Brisbane has been almost unstoppable as of late. In their current two game win streak, Brisbane has scored seven goals while allowing just one.

Next Week’s Game to Watch: Canberra United vs Brisbane Roar

It’s a top of the table clash next week as both Canberra and Brisbane enter the game tied with six points each and will look to take over the number one position on the table. As mentioned earlier, Brisbane has been in excellent goal scoring form during their two-game win streak. Their opponent Canberra should be well-rested as they didn’t play this week. This game is also a rematch of the season opener between the two, which Canberra took in dominant fashion winning 3-0. Brisbane will most certainly be looking for revenge in the form of three points.

Rachael Caldwell

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.

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