Western United heads to Ballarat for the first time in the Liberty A-League Women season, taking on Perth Glory at Morshead Park on Saturday afternoon.
Liberty A-League Women Round 13
Western United vs Perth Glory
Saturday, 4 February
Kick-off: 3:00pm AEDT
Morshead Park, Ballarat
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live and free on 10Play, and on Paramount+
Mark Torcaso has welcomed back Julia Sardo to the extended squad, with the right-back having overcome a minor muscle issue to return to contention.
Sardo missed the last two fixtures for United and is back in action at the perfect time with Stacey Papadopoulos facing a stint on the sidelines at full-back.
Francesca Iermano is also in the extended squad as a full-back option, while Angie Beard has further boosted those stocks having made her first start for the Club last week.
Jaclyn Sawicki also started for the first time for the Green and Black and will hope to continue to increase her minutes at the weekend as United approaches a busy period of three matches in seven days.
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 earned its biggest win in the Liberty A-League to date with a 5-0 victory over Canberra United in the last match.
All of the goals came in the first half, including a brace from Hannah Keane and first Liberty A-League goals for Danielle Steer and Melissa Taranto as United maintained its position at the top of the table.
Perth have had a solid first half of the Liberty A-League season, sitting in ninth place on the table but within range of fourth place with games in hand on most of their competition.
This match will be Glory’s first in some 20 days after an extended break in their fixture, but they will approach the match with confidence after a win and a draw in their two previous fixtures.
United defeated Perth Glory in a thriller on New Year’s Day, with a late own goal earning the Green and Black a 3-2 win.
Key Matchup: Hannah Keane vs Sarah Langman
One of the most important battles on the pitch could be in Western United’s attacking third, particularly after the previous meeting between these two sides.
Sarah Langman seemed at times impenetrable throughout the 90 minutes in Perth, making a string of top quality saved before United finally broke through to win.
Hannah Keane scored once on that occasion and was unfortunate that the winner went down as an own goal, but the American has since taken her form to an even greater level.
United’s No.9 has scored six goals in the last four matches and will be chasing a fifth successive match with a goal and will hope that her and her teammates can make easier work of putting the ball past Langman and into the back of the net.
Player to Watch: Angie Beard
In her first start since joining the Club in the new year, Beard was in fine form down the left-hand side and will hope to pick up where she left off in this clash.
United’s No.23 set up the first goal with her first assist for the Club and was a constant thread to Canberra’s defence in wide areas.
Hoping to be named in the starting XI again, Beard will be keen to go from strength to strength on the pitch and could be in for another starring role for Torcaso’s side.
Words from Mark Torcaso
On playing three games in seven days, while Perth are playing their first game in three weeks
“We’ve got to keep in mind we’ve got three games in a week, so we want to go out and be as sharp, as intense and as aggressive as we possibly can.
“The fixturing has been an issue for them but they’re presented with a great opportunity to play us, and we’re presented with a great opportunity to play them. So it’s a challenge on both of our sides.”
Words from the playing squad – Jaclyn Sawicki
On the players looking forward to playing in Ballarat for the first time
“It’ll be awesome for the community out there and great for us to play at home. We’ve just had three away weekends which can take a toll, so I think we’re just excited to be together in the West and play over there.”