Western United will face Melbourne City in a blockbuster top of the table clash in the Liberty A-League Women on Saturday afternoon.
Liberty A-League Women Round 14
Western United vs Melbourne City
Saturday, 11 February
Kick-off: 2:20pm AEDT
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live and free on 10Play, and on Paramount+
Mark Torcaso has named an unchanged 18-player extended squad for the game but could rotate on matchday.
With this being United’s third game within a week, Torcaso will be able to shuffle the pack and bring some of his star players back into the starting XI.
The likes of Jaclyn Sawicki, Adriana Taranto and Tyla Jay Vlajnic all came on from the bench on Wednesday night and will be hoping to return to the starting line-up.
Western United squad: 1. Alyssa DALL’OSTE (gk), 4. Jaclyn SAWICKI, 5. Aimee MEDWIN, 7. Francesca IERMANO, 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, 24. Julia SARDO
Last time out
Western United fell to a second straight defeat in the Liberty A-League, losing 2-0 to Newcastle Jets on Wednesday night.
Goals just before and just after half-time condemned United to the result, and the side will be looking to bounce back in a big game against Melbourne City.
Melbourne City have long been one of the leading powers in the Liberty A-League and are a strong force once again in 2022/23.
Now led by Dario Vidosic, City continue to play with an eye-catching brand of football and sit second on the table, just two points behind United.
Youngsters Daniela Galic and Caitlin Karic have impressed among established senior players, creating for a thrilling spectacle on Saturday.
Key Matchup: Hannah Keane vs Emma Checker
While Hillary Beall will hope to keep a clean sheet in defence for United, Hannah Keane will look to impose herself at the other end with City’s No.1 goalkeeper, Melissa Barbieri, missing out due to a calf injury.
Keane leads the golden boot race in the Liberty A-League and has been one of the league’s deadliest forwards from day one.
She will come up against a stern test in the form of Emma Checker, a multi-capped Matilda and high quality defender.
The battle between Keane and Checker could be a crucial one in deciding the outcome of the match as United’s No.9 aims to move into double digits for goals scored and guide her side to victory.
Player to Watch: Jaclyn Sawicki
Western United’s captain Sawicki has featured in five straight games for the Green and Black and has continued to increase her match sharpness.
The Philippines star has showed her significant quality at the base of midfield and has already become a key player for Torcaso’s team.
Aiming to return to the starting line-up, Sawicki will hope to make an impact against City having missed the first meeting between the two sides, and she will be eager to ensure her side emerges victorious at the end.
Words from Mark Torcaso
On the team’s response after two defeats this week
“We trained really, really well today. Considering we had the two games in the week, they looked excellent today, to be honest. They’re looking sharp and ready to go.
“We moved on from those games pretty quickly. There was no discussion really about that, we reviewed it and it was more about tomorrow and our game. That’s all we’re focusing on, making sure we go and give a really good performance as a group and bounce back from those two games.”
On the challenges of facing Melbourne City
“City’s got a particular style of play that they have as a whole club. We know what their strengths are going to be and how they’re going to play.
“We’ll focus on us and what we can control. We’ll try and attempt to beat their weaknesses where we can. I’m hoping this is going to be a really good game for the viewers, it’s a top of the table clash so you hope it’s going to be entertaining.