ALW Pre-Season Report: Melbourne City 0-3 Western United

Western United A-League Women

Western United scored a 3-0 win over Melbourne City in its final Liberty A-League Women friendly ahead of the Club’s debut in the competition in just over a week.

The Green and Black weathered some early pressure to eventually dominate proceedings, taking a 2-0 lead into half-time with goals from Hannah Keane and Jessica McDonald.

Keane found the net again just after half-time as United continued to control the match, holding onto the clean sheet and picking up its second win of pre-season.

Team News

There were three changes to the starting XI from last weekend’s friendly against Melbourne Victory, though the midfield trio remained the same with Emma Robers and Melissa and Adriana Taranto lining up in the middle.

Two of the alterations came in the full-back positions with Stacey Papadopoulos starting on the right and Tyla Vlajnic coming in on the left, while McDonald came into the line-up on the right-wing.

First Half

Western United had to withstand a period of early pressure from Melbourne City, but the last line of defence held firm to ensure Hillary Beall was never significantly troubled in goal.

City’s counter-pressing made it difficult for United to clear its lines at the back and get the ball under control in midfield.

The Green and Black worked its way further into the match 10 minutes in and created the first big chance of the contest when Keane held off and spun away from her defender before firing a shot at the near post that was pushed away for a corner.

United then hit the front just after the half hour mark after a scintillating team move. McDonald started it by winning the ball back on halfway and holding off multiple defenders before finding Adriana Taranto in the middle.

Within a matter of seconds, Adriana Taranto, Papadopoulos and Robers linked up before the latter threaded Keane in behind, and the American made no mistake with a fierce strike past the goalkeeper at the near post.

United’s tails were up and Keane turned provider two minutes later to double the lead, cutting the ball back to McDonald who finished expertly with a looping effort over the goalkeeper and into the corner.

City had their best chance to pull one back before half-time, pouncing on a turnover in the final third before flashing a shot just wide of the post, ensuring United held the two-goal advantage into half-time.

Second Half

United came out of the interval with the same hunger from the first-half and added to the lead minutes after the restart.

Beall sent the ball long from a free-kick inside her box and Keane was onto it in a flash, pouncing on some indecision at the back for City and streaming in on goal to tuck away her second of the match.

The Green and Black remained on the front foot and Keane was at the heart of just about everything, flashing a cross across the face of goal that McDonald just couldn’t apply a finishing touch to.

City had their best chance to pull a goal back on 68 minutes when an open goal presented itself at the back post, but the shot came from a tight angle and flashed past the right-hand post.

On a warm afternoon, United was happy to conserve energy and control possession for the rest of the contest with a number of players getting opportunities from the bench.

Keane had one final attempt at her hat-trick in the dying embers of the match but her shot rolled wide of the target as United claimed victory.