Western United will face Sydney FC in a huge Liberty A-League Women top of the table clash on Wednesday night.
Liberty A-League Women Round 10
Western United vs Sydney FC
Wednesday, 11 January
Kick-off: 5:00pm AEDT
City Vista Pavilion and Sports Field, Plumpton
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live and free on 10Play, and on Paramount+
Canadian attacker Danielle Steer could be set to make her Western United debut after being named in the extended squad for the first time since joining the Club last week.
Chloe Logarzo also returns to the extended squad and will hope to feature against her former side, as will Kahli Johnson.
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, 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
Last time out
Western United picked up its sixth consecutive win to start the season with a 1-0 victory over Wellington Phoenix on Saturday afternoon.
A Tyla Jay Vlajnic header earned the Green and Black the win after a difficult afternoon, ensuring that United maintained its perfect record.
Sydney FC have been a leading team in the Liberty A-League Women for some time, coming off back-to-back Premierships and eight straight seasons with a top three finish.
They have continued that form into this season with Cortnee Vine, Princess Ibini and Madison Haley forming an electric front three.
Only Melbourne City have scored more than Sydney and no team has conceded less, meaning United will have to be at its very best to get a positive result on Wednesday.
Key Matchup: Sydney Cummings vs Madison Haley
Having already faced some of the Liberty A-League’s best attackers, Sydney Cummings and the Western United defence will be on high alert in the face of Sydney’s Haley.
With five goals so far this season and four in her last four games, Haley leads the golden boot race and will provide United’s defence with a stern test.
Cummings has been a shining light in defence for United and received a Liberty Player of the Month nomination for December.
The Guyana international will face arguably her most difficult assignment again Haley and will hope to limit her chances in front of goal in order to push United to a big win.
Player to Watch: Jessica McDonald
At the other end of the pitch, Western United will hope to penetrate the league’s best defence and will lean on big-game experience to help do so.
Jessica McDonald has been an ever-present for United this season, leading the team from the front and constantly causing panic in the opposition ranks.
The American forward has contributed with two goals and one assist so far, but her leadership and mentality has been even more vital than her on-field exploits.
McDonald will call on all of her experience and know-how in big games to help drive the Green and Black forward and will be key for Mark Torcaso’s side in this fixture.
Words from Mark Torcaso
On the depth of the squad and managing the group with three games in the space of a week
“I think the key for us is we knew we had three games in seven days, so we’re looking after every player to make sure they’re fit enough for every game.
“The really important thing for us is we’ve got a full squad of players that can play any day. We’re pretty confident in our depth, we’re excited about what we can put out on Wednesday and we’re excited about what we can put out on Saturday.”
On managing mental expectations within the team ahead of a big game
“It’s about making sure that they understand that obviously three points is what we want, but also realising the occasion – it’s another game for us.
“We don’t want to make it too big because people might go in their shells. It’s another game for us, it’s three points that we’re aiming for and we believe it’s going to be a good game for us.”