Western United is back on home soil in the Liberty A-League Women this weekend, taking on Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 6.
Liberty A-League Women Round 6
Western United vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday, 25 November
Kick-off: 4:00pm AEDT
City Vista Pavilion and Sports Field, Plumpton
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live and free on 10Play, and on Paramount+
Tyla Jay Vlajnic has been included in the extended squad and will hope to make her return from a groin problem that kept her out of last week’s win over Brisbane Roar.
The Serbian international will be fighting to prove her fitness and earn a place in the side with plenty of competition in the wide positions. Julia Sardo and Lucy Richards both started and performed well in Queensland and will have eyes on another start on Saturday.
Silver Bell Morris has been named in an extended squad for the first time this season while Kahli Johnson will look to continue her strong early-season goal-scoring form.
Western United squad: 1. Alyssa DALL’OSTE (gk), 2. Stacey PAPADOPOULOS, 3. Silver Bell MORRIS, 4. Jaclyn SAWICKI, 6. Chloe LOGARZO, 9. Hannah KEANE, 10. Kahli JOHNSON, 11. Emma ROBERS, 12. Lucy RICHARDS, 13. Avaani PRAKASH, 14. Natasha DAKIC, 15. Adriana TARANTO, 16. Melissa TARANTO, 18. Grace MAHER, 19. Tyla Jay VLAJNIC, 20. Keiwa HIEDA, 21. Hillary BEALL (gk), 22. Alana CERNE, 24. Julia SARDO, 26. Natalie PICAK (gk)
Last time out
Western United got back to winning ways last week, grinding out an impressive 1-0 victory over Brisbane Roar in difficult conditions.
Johnson’s early goal proved the difference as both sides battled on a difficult playing surface, but United came through as deserved winners to claim a second win of the season.
Western Sydney Wanderers have had a difficult start to the season and are sitting on the bottom of the table, but they will pose plenty of problems to United come gameday.
Amy Harrison, capped 13 times by the Matildas, is one of the Wanderers’ main stars in midfield and can control a game against any opponent with her quality and experience.
Sophie Harding has started the season in good form with two goals from the first four matches with youngster Cushla Rue impressing alongside her.
The Wanderers gave United two difficult tests last week with the side’s sharing 2-1 wins over the two meetings.
The Green and Black will be hoping to channel the win over the Wanderers in April en route to picking up another important three points.
Key Matchup: Jaclyn Sawicki vs Amy Harrison
Still on a high from her FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign with the Philippines, Jaclyn Sawicki will be out to impress for United this weekend.
One of the side’s co-captains, Sawicki was in fine form against Brisbane last week and will be hoping to continue building positive momentum in the early weeks of this season.
United’s No.4 will have a tough task ahead of her on Saturday, though, with Harrison remaining one of the competition’s best and most experienced players.
While there may be a physical discrepancy with Harrison boasting an extra 13cm on Sawicki, the match in skill and precision in midfield will be a fascinating one to watch.
Sawicki will be out to win the midfield battle and to lead her side onwards to victory, with a potential rise up into the top three in store with a win.
Player to Watch: Julia Sardo
Sardo has shone in her two starts at right-back so far this season and will be in prime position to start again based on her strong form.
Her athleticism and reading of the play has stood out with a number of instances of stepping in to intercept the play and immediately get on the front foot to send United on the attack.
That alongside her precise delivery into the final third makes Sardo an asset for the Green and Black on both sides of the ball, and she is set to be a key player once again for Mark Torcaso’s side.
Words from Mark Torcaso
On Julia Sardo’s form in defence
“She was unbelievable. I think she had the most interceptions in the competition for the weekend, she was up there with the most passes.
“She had a really good pre-season, got a little knock in the first couple of weeks and couldn’t get on the pitch but I believe in Jules. She’s someone that can definitely have an impact at this level and she was huge for us on the weekend.”
On the fan support felt at home matches at City Vista so far
“The crowd are so close at City Vista and it feels like they’re literally on top of you. To have so many family and friends and local people come and watch the girls week in, week out – it’s not only important for the girls and our club, it’s just important for the game in general.”