Western United international round-up: Sawicki, Vlajnic and Vonja feature

Western United A-League Women

Star Western United duo Jaclyn Sawicki and Tyla Jay Vlajnic will return to club duties having represented their countries over the past week.

With the Liberty A-League Women season taking a break to align with the FIFA international window, both players were able to travel abroad and play for their national teams without missing any action with Western United.

Sawicki’s international travels took her to Barcelona with the Philippines national team competing in the Pinatar Cup.

The Filipinas began the tournament with a 1-0 defeat to Wales last week, though Sawicki was not part of the squad having arrived from Australia only shortly beforehand.

United’s captain came into the side for the second match against Scotland, filling in at centre-back. Sawicki played 54 minutes as the Philippines lost 2-1.

It was a special moment for Sawicki, marking her first minutes for the national team since winning the AFF Women’s Championship some seven months ago.

Sawicki then returned to the midfield for the final match, but unfortunately it ended in a heavy defeat to Iceland. The No.4 came off in the 67th minute with her side 2-0 down before Iceland ended up 5-0 winners.

The Philippines will now look ahead to the first round of Olympics qualification in early April before the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Vlajnic enjoyed greater success in her two matches with Serbia who headed to Antalya in Turkey to face Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovakia.

United’s No.19 started both matches, the first of which against Bosnia ended in dramatic fashion as Serbia twice came from behind to secure a thrilling 3-2 victory.

The second game was not quite so event-filled, ending in a 0-0 draw as Vlajnic was substituted just before the final whistle.

Vlajnic and Sawicki will now both return to Melbourne and rejoin their Western United teammates ahead of the remaining five matches of the Liberty A-League Women season.

Elsewhere on international duty, Western United Academy goalkeeper Michael Vonja represented Australia in the U17 Antalya Cup with the Subway Joeys.

After Brad Maloney’s side had drawn with Czechia and beaten Morocco in the opening two matches, Vonja came in between the sticks for the final game against Uzbekistan.

The youngster was unfortunate to not keep out Uzbekistan’s first two goals in a 2-1 defeat for the Joeys. The first goal came after Vonja had saved an initial effort before he narrowly missed an attempted leg save as the Uzbeki striker finished one-on-one.

Vonja will have done himself no harm as he hopes to remain in the Joeys squad for the AFC U17 Asian Cup later this year.

Continuing Western United’s strong presence in international squads, young guns Rhys Bozinovski and Charbel Shamoon are both headed to next month’s AFC U20 Asian Cup with Australia and Iraq respectively.