[Me chilling half time with the Roar Corps during Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar. Spot the non-Roar supporter]
Each weekend I keep asking myself, how is the W-League going to top the last round? But then BOOM, it goes ahead and out does itself. Every single time. Honestly it’s like watching The Good Place, you’re not sure where everything is ending, but every week is both quality entertainment as an individual episode plus just fireworks and goodness within the scope of the season as a whole.
So clearly we have a lot to talk about. I’m going to break it up again into the different Match Days, but honestly feel free to take this like a pick your own adventure and bounce around between the different days, because each are just as special and epic as the other. Honestly my pick would be to go with Sunday’s Sydney match, after hit reverse to Saturdays, then a for breather head to Sunday #2 in Newy, to finish with Thursday night’s thriller.
Thursday Night|| Adelaide 2 – 2 Perth
Looking at the rounds matches, this one looked the most mouth watering. Both sides going in undefeated. One side purely on defence, the other side’s weapons being purely attack. Reminiscent of mixing jam and peanut butter, the mix of these two sides looked scandalizing. Well. It produced the goods.
Perth were able to dominate play early, holding possession and territory, however it was Adelaide who served the first blow of the evening. Adelaide’s counter started with Brooks at centre back, who lofted a beaut of a pass from very deep forward into Adelaide’s attack. For half a second the ball looked cooked, Naughton looked to have the situation managed, however Latsko had other ideas. With the determination of a child tearing open Christmas presents, Latsko pushed Naughton off the ball and produced a quality finish to break the deadlock midway through the first half. First blow Adelaide.
Perth went scrounging for a reply, but honestly Adelaide is a gorgeous side to watch without the ball. The discipline and hard work produced throughout Adelaide’s side is hypnotising to myself, a huge fan of beating sides with little possession. However, no matter how pretty Adelaide looked to me, Perth, in particularly Kerr, had different ideas.
Right on the 40th minute mark Perth finally figured out how to unlock Adelaide’s defence from open play for the first time this season. A cross from deep-ish, high, that forced Willacy off her line, whilst having a leaping Kerr attack the ball. BAM. Perth got the equaliser. Then BOOM. Another Kerr goal as a result of switching play quickly, another lofted ball fooling Checker at the heart of Adelaide’s defence, for Hill to win the contest and get the ball to Kerr’s feet, who scores for fun and bagged her two for the night quickly. Oof, Adelaide go in at the break 2-1 down due to Perth’s late resurgence in the first half.
Enter the second half, we get to witness an Adelaide side chasing the game. That’s a bit different to their usual affair of relying on the counter attack. However the shift in this one came with a Mautz red card for a second yellow card offence. One part of me agrees with Kerr’s post-match “ridiculous” comments, a larger part agrees with Dowie’s commentary of “already on a yellow, don’t make the ref decide with that type of challenge”, either way, a red was drawn. With a player up, who else is there to get the equaliser for the Reds, but Latsko. The sides were brought level with barely ten minutes left on the clock. Perth went searching, looking the better side with ten players, after the equaliser. Willacy produced the goods again by stopping a brilliant effort by Kerr late in the game. Still Adelaide on the counter were a threat, with Latsko having an opportunity to get her hat trick late, but decided the sky would rather the ball than the net.
Whistle calls the end of the game. Clearly the hot weather conditions had no impact on the game with the intensity it was played with for large spells. Still, we are all none the wiser to which of the top three currently undefeated sides will suffer their first loss. We must continue to wait for future rounds.
Friday Night|| Western Sydney Wanderers 2 – 2 Canberra United
For the first time this season I’m watching the Wanderers at Spotless. I must admit, not a massive fan of watching soccer at an AFL ground, but I didn’t get lost there. So small wins right? The game plan for this match was two fold. One, don’t trust the Wanderers to actually get any points, or goals for that matter, because of precedents. Second, to live tweet the match for The Women’s Game. Simple stuff. How quickly it all unravelled.
Point two first. I arrive to the stadium having relied heavily on my phone’s ability to use the internet to actually get to the correct destination. All is fine and dandy. Pre-match, able to send tweets and use the internet generally. Three minutes into the game, apparently was always intended to be my last tweet for the match. Unknowingly I continued to pump out tweets, quality ones too, until the Khamis challenge (we’ll get to that, bare with me), then I realise none of my tweets are loading. Mention to Eric, who is with me, also with The Women’s Game, “hey don’t think my Twitter is working”. Eric checks. Nope. Nothing’s on there. Luckily Eric could take over while I messaged my brother who works at Vodafone why I suddenly have no net. Apparently there was an outage. Just my timing for it to be from the 3rd minute to some time during the 80th.
So the game. The dweebs finally can be trusted apparently? Points? The Wanderers no longer need to reply “don’t know her”, THEY’VE GOT A POINT. The point is super sweet considering it came against Canberra, who only last weekend destroyed Sydney in a fashion not so considerate to this traveling Sky Blue supporter. So happy days for this soul. I’m going to skip over the first half here, all you need to know is it was scoreless and the Khamis sisters battle royale. Where Sham in goals ran clear out of the box to thwart Leena, who was clear through. The keeper received a yellow card, which Twitter informs me is unjust, as the challenge was far gnarlier on a replay.
All the action in this game was in the second half. Whyman, oh poor, injured, needing a holiday, Whyman, did a stunner of a job clearing an opportunity from a one on one with a Canberra forward. However, for her effort, the keeper wound up in a heap, clearly in need of the medical staff. Yet, the ball was still in play, the defence Whyman had just handed a “get out of jail card” to sold her out to dry. Carpenter pick up the loose ball, composed herself and struck the ball into the net, as the Wanderers defense hesitated longer than I hesitate to decide between which Cadbury block of chocolate in the super market. Sure let’s blame the ref for not stopping play, but legit Wanderers. If ever a time for a pro foul it is where you’ve got your keeper on the deck yeah?
Anyway, the Wanderers were actually looking decent in attack, with Addo clearly the missing piece for the side. For Khamis, it seemed only fitting on her 100th appearance that she managed to get a vintage tap in of a goal for the equaliser. Addo had no right to hold the ball in the mixer for as long as she did before putting the ball across the goal for Khamis to tap, but it happened. And I celebrated, because after so long I witness a Wanderers goal!
Did I mention Whyman was injured? Well, we were reminded not only by the Wanderers reserve keeper going through a vigorous warm up on the sidelines, but for Canberra’s second goal. With a long ball over the top, Uzunlar tried to keep Mulaudzi at bay, but Whyman wasn’t coming out to collect like she usually would. Somewhere in the moment, communication was lost and Uzunlar trying to help, kicked the ball. It was a good kick if she were in opposite colours. Canberra went ahead, I start to distrust the Wanderers once again.
The next minute I witnessed the best bit of Wanderers play all season. So late in the game, unjustly behind, especially in a game where both sides really were so even, the Wanderers found some desperation. Desperation was perhaps for the first time this season mixed with the belief they could actually fight back here. With some good play pushing forward, mixing it up around the box, Yeoman-Dale found some space on the left flank, hit the cross into the box, where Ledbrook rose and put it into the back of the net. Mate. I’ve not celebrated that hard for a goal that wasn’t my own team in a long time. Even in the sparse stadium that is Spotless, there was volume in the crowd for this goal.
The Wanderers, can we trust them now? Probably not, but a good solid draw against a Canberra side who played some nifty, clever play around the box produces a smidge of hope. Gotta start somewhere. Also I have many thoughts about the Wanderers and this game generally, but that could turn into an essay, so let’s leave everything as it is here.
Sunday Afternoon|| Sydney FC 5 – 1 Brisbane Roar
I’ve travelled long and far to see a Sydney victory and FINALLY I’m granted the honour of seeing one. Honestly what better way is there to spend a Sunday afternoon than in a pack stands at a footy ground, where the home side gets an emphatic win against a side we’ve had many a tough battle against.
Firstly, lets get this off my chest. One thing I’ve said since Logarzo played in midfield for the Matildas against Chile, heck even during the Wanderers game round 1, Logarzo is half arsed in the midfield and should be in the attacking three instead. When I’ve previously said this, Logarzo goes on to score. However, here against the Roar, I am proved right. Logarzo excels out wide. With McCaskill pushed into the midfield, suddenly Sydney are playing between the lines too. Where as Logarzo kept pushing in as an extra forward whilst playing attacking mid, McCaskill and Colaprico are able to find the space and work the pitch to support the attack without losing the shape or attack from the midfield. Finally guys. Ante listened to me somehow.
Ok I’m going to preamble this with both sets of goalkeepers performed some absolute spectacular saves. Heck at one point Macca was my player of the match for Brisbane whilst the scores were level. But there are six goals to talk about and heck it’s getting late and we could be here all day if we cover everything from my notes. So let’s talk about the goals.
So many of the goals this round had super mint assists. The first half goals brought us minty fresh assists and through balls meaning we probably no longer need to brush our teeth for the rest of the week (but no, actually please brush your teeth stinky breath). Foord was the finisher of the opening goal on the 15th minute, but it was McCaskill who was the mastermind behind it producing a ball menacingly in between the full backs, that was hit to perfection. Not to be out done, Roar clawed back level soon after, with Toby producing the minty goodness assist and with Yuki finishing.
Half time hit. I have an adventure walking to the far corner of the ground to say hello to the Roar Corps guys, and to let them know I’ll be chilling with them next weekend. They’re a rad crew and I’m looking forward to telling you my adventures with them next week.
Enter the second half. If you’re a Roar supporter, look away now honestly. Sydney found their missing gears and everything just clicked. The moment Ibini entered the field, the game shift and it was all Sydney. On the hour mark, O Captain, My Captain. Polias produced a clanker for the breakthrough. The ball was laid back between the lines, Polias was there in space and ripped one from a distance. The stands went mental. My pen lid went flying because I was celebrating too. Moments like that in the stands are special. T scoring is special.
The floodgates opened. Foord went on to bag a hat trick. One goal produced by being receiving the ball in behind the defence, going one on one with Arnold and coolly slotting it home. The other later in the match, where Ray passed the ball from the flank to Foord’s feet in the mixer, who was in space and knocked it home for the fifth goal of Sydney’s evening. In between Foord carving up the Roar defence like a roast chook on a Sunday, Ibini found the back of the net. Huerta was finally able to find a decent cross in, it hit low to Ibini who fought to be on the good side of her defender and sneak the ball to the near post low and hard. Good football.
Sydney finally live up to their potential here for thirty minutes of the match and demonstrated the reason they are a side many feared on paper at the start of the season. For Brisbane? They were in it for much of the game, but with limited attacking options to bring on from the bench, they just couldn’t find another gear to match it with Sydney in the end and were outclassed by the finish.
Sunday Afternoon #2|| Newcastle Jets 1 – 3 Melbourne City
I’m about to head off to bed and flick this match up on my ipad if it’s not too late, otherwise I’ll watch it in the morn. So this is all guess work from what I’ve managed to conjure up between Twitter and my knowledge of the sides. What was massive for City was to have their preferred starting back four together. Catley back from injury and Stott back from international duty means they are able to play the type of football they like with the safety and security their defence provides. Getting goals through the midfield, through both Kinga and Butt, is always good signs for a team such as City, who rely on possession and midfield dominance to win matches. Not a good sign if you’re not a City fan though. Apparently Spencer scored a stunner? Nothing surprising here, City seem to be getting the best out of her this season. Meanwhile the Jets continue to not quite find the form of last season’s top four side. I’m still unsure of Kingsley in the starting XI, but with Wright out injured, perhaps it was forced? Meanwhile Stengel has shaken a monkey off her back and hit the back of the net for the first time this season. Perhaps City won this game in the midfield? Honestly, this is likely. I’m hoping Van Egmond put in a decent shift so the Jets weren’t totally overran but the score line isn’t lending me to place too much hope in this being a reality.
Anyway, it’s back to winning ways for City, so huge result for the Melbourne side.