The Liberty A-League Women is back and Western United will begin its second season in the competition with a tricky away trip to face Perth Glory on Saturday night.
Liberty A-League Women Round 1
Perth Glory vs Western United
Saturday, 14 October
Kick-off: 10:00pm AEDT (7:00pm local time)
Macedonia Park, Perth
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live and free on 10Play, and on Paramount+
Mark Torcaso’s first extended squad of the season features five would-be debutants and a number of returning stars from Western United’s stunning inaugural Liberty A-League season.
Grace Maher is in line to make her Green and Black debut after being named vice-captain of the side during the week with the likes of Keiwa Hieda and Kiara De Domizio eying maiden professional appearances.
A handful of squad members are coming off international commitments over the break and many will be looking to pick up where they left off last season.
Western United squad: 1. Alyssa DALL’OSTE (gk), 2. Stacey PAPADOPOULOS, 4. Jaclyn SAWICKI, 6. Chloe LOGARZO, 7. Kiara DE DOMIZIO, 9. Hannah KEANE, 10. Kahli JOHNSON, 11. Emma ROBERS, 12. Lucy RICHARDS, 14. Natasha DAKIC, 15. Adriana TARANTO, 16. Melissa TARANTO, 18. Grace MAHER, 19. Tyla Jay VLAJNIC, 20. Keiwa HIEDA, 22. Alana CERNE, 24. Julia SARDO, 26. Natalie PICAK
Perth Glory were a late bloomer in the 2022/23 Liberty A-League. After losing four of the first seven matches with just one win, Perth went on to lose just twice in the final 11 fixtures.
One of seven wins in that time was a 3-1 triumph over Western United, reversing a 3-2 win for the Green and Black on New Year’s Day.
That meant Alex Epakis’ side finished just one point out of the finals places and they will look to take further steps forward after some promising recruitment over the off-season.
New Zealand international Grace Jale made the switch from Canberra United along with former FA Women’s Super League striker Millie Farrow, while Torcaso will be familiar with Quinley Quezada and Jessika Cowart, two players he works with in the Philippines women’s national team.
Key Matchup: Hannah Keane vs Jessika Cowart
Cowart will be involved in one of the central battles in this fixture, going up against reigning golden boot winner and United star Hannah Keane.
Keane took on everything in her path last season, dominating from start to finish on the way to a 13-goal regular season haul before finding the net again in the semi-final.
The American’s mixture of height, speed, composure and raw finishing ability made her one of the competition’s best players and certainly its deadliest striker last season.
Physically, Keane will meet her match against the powerful Cowart who impressed during the Philippines’ FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign.
United scored three times in Perth last season and Keane was a key figure in that game. She will be hoping for more of the same as she aims to get the better of Cowart and co. on the way to helping her side secure another win.
Player to Watch: Grace Maher
On her Western United debut, Maher will be one to watch for the visitors as she pulls on the Green and Black colours for the first time.
Maher has already demonstrated her outstanding quality in pre-season, helping United to work on playing out of the back and being more effective in deeper phases of possession.
Blessed with a wand of a left boot, Maher’s distribution out of defence will be vital for Torcaso’s side against Perth and throughout the season, and Western United fans will undoubtedly be eager to see the star signing in action.
Words from Mark Torcaso
On the prospect of locking in finals football in the Club’s inaugural season
“We’re probably playing a little bit different this year to what we were last year so it’s going to take a little bit of time in the way that we want to tactically line up.
“Slowly, slowly we’ll implement our style of play and what we want to do and that will take time, but we’re confident that what we’ll be able to put in a good show against Perth.”
On coming up against two of his Philippines players in the Perth squad
“I know they were really looking forward to having a professional career here in Australia. They’re both top quality, Quinley and Jess Cowart are very, very good players and they’re going to have a really good impact in Perth.”