The Liberty A-League Women’s only two remaining perfect records will meet as Western United takes on Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Saturday.
Liberty A-League Women Round 5
Melbourne City vs Western United
Saturday, 17 December
Kick-off: 5:05pm AEDT
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live and free on 10Play, and on Paramount+
There is just one change to Mark Torcaso’s extended squad from the last match against Adelaide United two weeks ago, with Kahli Johnson coming back into contention.
The young attacker has completed her recovery from a knee injury and will hope to work her way back into the side.
Stacey Papadopoulos is in contention after suffering a concussion in the win over Adelaide, while Chloe Logarzo could move to 90 Liberty A-League appearances if she features.
Western United squad: 1. Alyssa DALL’OSTE (gk), 2. Stacey PAPADOPOULOS, 5. Aimee MEDWIN, 6. Chloe LOGARZO, 7. Francesca IERMANO, 8. Jessica McDONALD, 9. Hannah KEANE, 10. Kahli JOHNSON, 11. Emma ROBERS, 14. Natasha DAKIC, 15. Adriana TARANTO, 16. Melissa TARANTO, 18. Aleksandra SINCLAIR, 19. Tyla Jay VLAJNIC, 20. Sydney CUMMINGS, 21. Hillary BEALL (gk), 22. Alana CERNE, 24. Julia SARDO
Last time out
Western United claimed a memorable victory in the last fixture two weeks ago, mounting a superb comeback to defeat Adelaide 2-1.
Two goals in injury time, the first from Sydney Cummings and the second via Emma Robers, overturned a 1-0 deficit and ensured United maintained its perfect start to the campaign.
Melbourne City have started the 2022/23 season in fine form, scoring 12 goals in the opening three rounds on the way to three convincing victories.
Interim coach Dario Vidosic has overseen the opening weeks of the season and will be eager to continue his strong start to life as a head coach.
Chilean import Maria Jose Rojas has hit the ground running with a goal in each game so far and will pose a major threat to United’s defence.
Key Matchup: Sydney Cummings vs Jose Maria Rojas
With Rojas being a dangerous avenue to goal for City, United’s defence will need to stand up to the challenge with Cummings set to lead the back four again.
The Guyana international has been imperious at the back in the first three games with her mix of height, strength, positional awareness and ball-playing ability.
United’s No.20, alongside the rest of the defence, will face a difficult test against Rojas and will give her side a greater chance of victory if she can keep the Chilean star away from goal.
Player to Watch: Alana Cerne
Alongside Cummings at the back, Cerne has made an accomplished start to her senior career in the Liberty A-League and will a key part of United’s defence again.
The recently turned 20-year-old has played every minute of the campaign so far, transitioning seamlessly from NPLW Victoria with quality and confidence in her game.
Her calmness on the ball will be pivotal in helping the side play through City’s press in early possession phases and she will also have an important role in trying to keep out the league’s highest-scoring team.
Words from Mark Torcaso
On playing in Victoria again for the first time since Round 1
“It feels like we haven’t been at home for a while. Obviously not our home game but playing at home in Melbourne is going to be great, hopefully we get as many people out as we can to support us.
“We had a really good week this week, the girls were up and about. It’s obviously a big game because it’s against Melbourne City and it’s the first one at AAMI Park.”
On playing to the perceived importance of a top of the table clash
“We always want to make sure we put our processes in place. If we do that, we believe we should be able to be competitive as much as we can. For us it’s another game, we just stick to ourselves and hopefully that takes care of itself.”
Words from the playing squad – Tyla Jay Vlajnic
On feeling the support of the fans
“I know the fans will be out to support us. I think that gives us, definitely, an edge. The Western fans have been amazing so far and I hope we can get the job done for them, for ourselves and the Club.”
On facing her former side for the first time
“I haven’t really thought about City much at all in terms of being my previous club or anything like that. This season, they’re another team and another team that we need to beat.
“I think they’re young, they’re exciting, but so are we. For us, there’s no pressure. We don’t have a lot to prove in terms of history, and we’re going to go out and do what we’ve been doing for the first three rounds.”