Western United’s Liberty A-League Women team will play in Tasmania for the first time with a clash against Brisbane Roar at North Hobart Oval on Saturday afternoon.
Liberty A-League Women Round 11
Western United vs Brisbane Roar
Saturday, 21 January
Kick-off: 2:20pm AEDT
North Hobart Oval, Hobart
Melissa Taranto returns to the extended squad after being rested for last week’s trip to face Western Sydney Wanderers.
Alana Cerne is also available after being managed last week while the likes of Angie Beard and Jaclyn Sawicki will hope to increase their minutes after featuring on the bench against the Wanderers.
Western United squad: 1. Alyssa DALL’OSTE (gk), 2. Stacey PAPADOPOULOS, 4. Jaclyn SAWICKI, 5. Aimee MEDWIN, 6. Chloe LOGARZO, 7. Francesca IERMANO, 8. Jessica McDONALD, 9. Hannah KEANE, 10. Kahli JOHNSON, 11. Emma ROBERS, 13. Danielle STEER, 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, 23. Angie BEARD
Last time out
Western United fell to its first defeat of the Liberty A-League season last time out, going down 2-1 to Western Sydney.
Goals either side of a Hannah Keane equaliser were enough for the hosts despite United hitting the woodwork twice in search of a result.
Brisbane Roar have made a solid start to the season and are one of a strong contingent of teams eying a push for a finals berth.
Currently sitting in seventh place, Brisbane have a game in hand on both Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory above them, with a win placing them within one point of the top four.
Garrath McPherson’s side boasts star quality in the form of Matildas midfielder Katrina Gorry and forward Larissa Crummer.
Key Matchup: Melissa Taranto vs Katrina Gorry
Coming back into the side, Taranto will hope to pick up where she left off and continue her strong form through the beginning of the campaign.
And she will need to be on top of her game in the face of Gorry, one of the competition’s best midfielders and a regular in the national team set up.
Gorry’s ability on the ball and tactical awareness makes her extremely proficient at helping her side build possession, while her defensive qualities also make her difficult to surpass in the middle of the pitch.
Taranto has proven to be a master of ball retention in midfield for United and, alongside the rest of the Green and Black midfield, will hope to win the middle battle against Gorry and give the side a platform from which to win the game.
Player to Watch: Jessica McDonald
The player that everyone will have their eyes on in this one will be McDonald as she lines up for the final time in Green and Black colours before heading home to the United States.
The legendary attacker has been a significant presence in the dressing room for United and has led with her talent on the pitch as well with two goals and an assist.
McDonald made history as the Club’s first ever goal scorer in the Liberty A-League and will hope to go out with a win and another influential performance, though her imprint within the group will remain for the entirety of the season.
Words from Mark Torcaso
On looking forward to playing in front of the Hobart crowd
“I think Hobart is a good footballing community, so we’re going to have a few people here which is going to be fantastic.
“Tasmania is Tasmania, they have a good football culture so it’s going to be great to put a performance on for them.”
Words from the playing squad: Jessica McDonald
On the big international stars playing in front of the Hobart crowd
“If you’re anywhere in the world, to look at some of the greatest play against one another, the competition is going to be absolutely immaculate. I think it’s going to be a really great game for everyone to come and watch.”
On playing her last game for Western United
“Obviously when I first came here, Mark brought me here to set the standard very high for this group. Hopefully with my leadership and experience, I’ve been able to apply that.
“Of course I want to end my stay here with Western United with a win, and hopefully the girls can continue that momentum moving forward.
“Either way it goes, I’m just proud of the girls and watching each and every one of them improve their game tremendously. That’s honestly been the biggest honour for me.”