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The Week in Women's Football: W-League enters second third; Matildas vs. Chile analysis;

This week, we review the Westfield W-League 2018/19 season, with the 9 teams completing at least a third of their regular season schedules. We also look at the squads and results from Australia's recent two game friendly series at home against Chile, both of whom have qualified for France 2019.

Westfield W-League 2018/19 Season To Date

Last season, Brisbane Roar won the Premiership (regular season) title while Melbourne City won the league championship for the third time in their three year history. Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets also made the playoffs. This season, we could see some teams ultimately qualify for the semifinals that have not seen the playoffs for some time (Melbourne Victory) or ever (Adelaide United) while Perth Glory seems to have bounced back from missing the playoffs in 2017/18. Currently Brisbane Roar (tied for fourth with Canberra United, who missed the playoffs last season) would be the only repeating team from the 2017/18 semifinals as of December 3rd, with Newcastle Jets nipping at their heels. We review the teams in order of their league table standing on December 3.

Melbourne Victory(4-1-0—13 points—First)

Many expected Melbourne Victory to be improved this season but not many foresaw that they would be table toppers after one-third of the season, and 5 points ahead of joint second place Perth and Adelaide, who each have played one less game. Natasha Dowie scored a hat trick in a Round 4 road victory away to Sydney FC, and the Victory played the last 13 minutes with 10 women as defender Angela Beard was shown her second yellow card. The game brought a league high crowd of 5,540 (part of an A-League doubleheader) on November 25. Dowie told Fox Sports TV immediately after the game: "It was probably one of the most exhausting games I've ever played in [because of the heat in Sydney]. Credit to Sydney; they're a great team, but it just kind of shows what we've got this season and I hope it continues. Our togetherness off the pitch is really showing on the pitch and when it got tough we really dug in and every single player gave everything today. I'm just so happy that I could help the girls get three points and at the minute we're feeling good. I just want to keep this winning momentum going." Hat-trick hero Dowie is making it hard for English national women's team head coach Phil Neville to ignore her in his planning ahead of the 2019 Women's World Cup next summer—she scored 10 goals earlier in the year for Linkoping in Sweden and now has 20 in four seasons with the Victory as she continues to build onto her all-time team scoring record. She has been in the international wilderness for some time since she was left out of the 2015 Women's World Cup side for Canada.Dowie, with a goal in the club's 2-1 home win over Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 5 on December 2, leads the league in goals scored with 5, one ahead of Perth's Sam Kerr and Alyssa Mautz, club mates at Chicago Red Stars during the NWSL season, who each have 4.

Australian international forward Emily Gielnik, U.S. international Christine Nairn (Orlando Pride) and Melina Ayers have each scored once for the Victory this season.

Perth Glory (2-2-0—8 points—Second)

The Glory leads the league in goals with 13, 4 goals ahead of Melbourne Victory who have the second highest total with 9, but Glory has played one less game. They started the season with two ties, grant it the second being a 4-4 away barnburner at Canberra, with the Glory crawling back from 4-1 down with 3 goals in the final 8 minutes. Sam Kerr and Alyssa Mautz each have four goals so far while last season's Glory sensation Rachel Hill (Orlando Pride) has three. The Glory seems to be firing well on offense but needs to tighten up their defense, though to be fair many of the W-League games this season have been end-to-end attacking play with little midfield possession, which ultimately puts pressure on both sides' defense. Perth though can usually shoot their way out of trouble.

Adelaide United(2-2-0--8 points—Third)

Four games played and Adelaide is undefeated and in the top four for a playoff position. After a 0-0 draw at home with the Victory, not a bad result in hindsight, United won 1-0 away to Brisbane Roar and 2-0 at home against Canberra United. In their fourth game away to Melbourne City, Georgia Campagnale (21)—a five year veteran midfielder with the club—scored a 97th minute equalizer from the top of the box for her first ever W-League goal after 40 plus games. American import midfielder Veronica Latsko—who played at the University of Virginia and scored four goals with two assists in 21 games with the Houston Dash of the NWSL this past season—has two of their three goals, with the other coming from a Natasha Prior own goal in the Canberra win. Adelaide's defense has been huge led by goalkeeper Sarah Willacy (23) and Matilda defender Emma Checker (22), who is playing in her eighth W-League season, but don't discount the offensive impact of new signing and Australian international forward Michelle Heyman, who had 5 of her team's 9 shots against Canberra and has looked very dangerous all season. New Iceland international imports Fanndis Fridriksdottir and Gunnhildur Jonsdottir (Utah Royals loanee) have also slotted in well.

Canberra United (2-1-2--7 points—Joint Fourth)

Canberra United was actually the only team outside the bottom three with fewer goals scored than allowed (6 vs 7) until their 2-0 Round 5 victory over Sydney FC and that is the reason they are just on the edge of the playoff reckoning right now. Their three South African/South American imports, international midfielder Refiloe Jane and forward Rhoda Mulaudzi from South Africa and Chilean Maria Rojas, who has been in the country studying for a few years and is expected to lead the front line for Chile at next summer's Women's World Cup (see more below), have all scored goals this season. Mulaudzi has three goals, Jane has two goals but has missed time while with her national team in African World Cup qualifying this month as they advanced to the Women's World Cup for the first time ever. Australian international defender Ellie Carpenter (Portland Thorns) has scored once and looks very sharp when she moves up from defense to join the attack. Former Matilda and now head coach Heather Garriock has been brave with her international signings (including Scottish international defender Rachel Corsie, on loan from the Utah Royals, who is also new to the W-League) and hopefully her reward is a playoff berth after missing out last season.

Maria Jose Rojas (30), a Chilean international, scored Canberra's third goal in the 4-4 pulsating home tie over Perth on November 4. She scored two goals during Chile's second place finish in the recent CONMEBOL Copa America/2019 Women's World Cup Qualifying Tournament and is expected to lead the frontline for her nation's WWC debut next summer. Rojas has played in Germany, Lithuania, Japan and just recently signed for the Greens. She previously played collegiately for the University of Texas-San Antonio and with the Gulf Coast Texans WPSL side. Though this is Rojas' first season in the W-League, she has been in the country for over three years, and most recently played for Adelaide University in South Australia's NPL (State League). She explained the process of joining Canberra United: "My trainer had contact with [head coach] Heather [Garriock], and he said 'Look, I have this player, she's a striker. You might be interested. I was in Japan at the time, but Heather seemed interested. I began training with them after I finished my season in Japan, and Heather took me on. I was excited, but I just couldn't believe Heather was giving me the opportunity, especially because I'd been waiting so long … I remember I was playing in Chile with the national team and Heather called me saying 'Come to Canberra, we can play you in a couple of games,' and I was just so grateful for the opportunity that she was providing me. I've been waiting for this opportunity for a very long time, and you always want to do the best. So I wish and I hope that I will keep working hard to stay in the W-League, which I really enjoy, and is also one of the best in the world." With an expected World Cup berth with Chile this summer, she should have no problem staying in the W-League, as well as attracting interest from other clubs around the world.

Brisbane Roar(2-1-1—7 points—Joint Fourth)

Carson Pickett, the American import and defender in her second season with the Roar, scored her club's only two goals of the season in the Roar's first three games, with recently capped English international Chiomu Ubogagu scoring the only goal on November 29 in a 1-0 road win at the Newcastle Jets, their first win against the Jets since September of 2014, stretching across 5 games (1 tie). We recently asked Pickett about playing for two men's soccer organizations that have fully embraced their women's program—MLS's Orlando City with the Pride and Brisbane Roar of the A-League for their women. The Roar were one of the leaders in Australia in fully budgeting for the women's team, whereas other W-League teams initially used the men's A-League team's name and some marketing functions, but utilized government or other funding sources for their annual budgets. Pickett said: "It's nice to be integrated with the men because, if we're being honest, they bring in the money. That is always a good opportunity. In Orlando we shared a training facility and went to their games and vice versa, we have connections with them and bounce things off of them. Here in Brisbane, the next step is really integrating both teams to support each other to the max. The Roar women are using the men's facilities for the first time."

The Roar had 20 shots in a Round 3 1-0 loss at home to Adelaide. Chiomu Ubogagu has looked very good and Japanese international and 2011 WWC Winner Yuki Nagasato (Chicago Red Stars) arrived ahead of game three and looks vibrant in midfield.. The defense is solid with Claire Polkinghorne (Houston Dash) and Jenna McCormick (formerly with Adelaide United) in the middle with Pickett on one wing and Matilda and Arna-Bjornar of Norway's (this past summer) Mackenzie Arnold in goal. This is a veteran team loaded with Matilda talent such as Arnold, Polkinghorne, Katrina Gorry, and Haley Raso recovering from injury; the Roar should be fine at the end of the season.

Newcastle Jets(2-0-2—6 points—Sixth)

Newcastle is another team in the playoff frame with 2 wins in 4 games but has scored only thrice, with their offense coming entirely from Australian youth international Courtney Vine (2) and veteran Jenna Kingsley (1). Australian international Midfielder Emily Van Egmond and American forward Katie Stengel (10 goals last year in 13 games) should get on the scorecard soon while American loanee goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom (25) from the Portland Thorns has 2 shutouts and is key again for a playoff berth this season. Speedy U.S. international defender Taylor Smith (Washington Spirit) has slotted in well to this veteran squad that is so confident after breaking a 9 year playoff hoodoo last season.

Melbourne City(1-1-3—4 points—Seventh)

This has been a head scratcher of a season for the three time reigning champions, as they have lost to Canberra (2-0), Melbourne Victory (2-0) and Perth Glory (5-2). American Jasmine Spencer (Seattle Reign) scored a hat trick in a 2-1 Round 2 victory over Sydney FC. Their only other scorers were Elise Kellond-Knight with a double against Perth and Kyah Simon on a penalty kick in a 1-1 tie with Adelaide in Round 5 on December 1. Despite having Australian international and Seattle Reign goalkeeper Lydia Williams back, they have allowed 11 goals, tops in the league. English international forward Jodie Taylor will arrive later in the season and she should help the offense, but right now the priority is fixing the defense or this could be the season that City loses its championship legacy, and perhaps any chance of a playoff berth. The alarm bells should definitely be ringing at City.

Sydney FC (1-0-3—3 points—Eighth)

Sydney is scoring sufficiently (6 goals in 4 games and tied for fourth highest in the league) but also leaking goals (8 goals allowed). Australian internationals Caitlin Foord (Portland Thorns) and Chloe Logarzo (ex-Orlando Pride in the NWSL, Eskilstuna United of Sweden and Alvadsnes of Norway) have two goals each. The side that has never missed the playoffs in their previous 10 seasons needs to turn things around quickly during the rest of the season. The offense is fine, with Australian international forward Lisa De Vanna still a handful up front and new addition U.S. international Savannah McCaskill (Sky Blue FC) a very exciting prospect.

In defense Alanna Kennedy (Orlando Pride) is a force in front of American goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe (Washington Spirit). Recently capped American midfielder Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars) has been impactful after moving from Adelaide United, where she played two seasons. McCaskill has not always started and Mexican and U.S. international Sofia Huerta (Houston Dash) has been a right back and probably can do more danger in midfield. The key here for the Sky Blues is tightening the defense down from this point on.

Western Sydney Wanderers (0-0-5—0 points—Ninth)

Unfortunately it is season seven, same as before, for the side whose best result is a sixth place finish in their inaugural season in 2012-13. After this season started, they brought back Dutch defender Maruschka Waldus for a second year. The team has scored one goal (by Kylie Ledbrook in their 2-1 defeat on December 2 in Round 5)—clearly bottom of the league—while its defense is second from bottom in allowing 10 goals, one behind Melbourne City. This season is turning into a nightmare despite bringing back American defender Lo'eau LaBonta for a second season from the Utah Royals, adding her club teammate Sydney Miramontez and Ghanaian international Elizabeth Addo (Seattle Reign), along with five former Sydney FC players and head coach Dan Barrett.

There is some good news coming out of Sydney's western suburbs however as the club is building a new 30,000 stadium for the Wanderers and Parramatta Eels of the Australian Rugby League, which is set to open in 2019. England's Leeds United men's side is heading there to play the first soccer match in the new venue on July 20th. Australian youth international goalkeeper Jada Whyman, in her fourth season with the Wanderers, participated in the announcement on November 26 and said: "It will be fantastic, the structure of the stadium will have the fans closer than ever; we have such a fan base that it will be great for the community."

2018/19 W-League Table as of December 3, 2018


Melbourne Victory 5 4 1 0 9 4 13

Perth Glory 4 2 2 0 13 7 8

Adelaide United 4 2 2 0 4 1 8

Canberra United 5 2 1 2 8 7 7

Brisbane Roar 4 2 1 1 3 2 7

Newcastle Jets 4 2 0 2 3 3 6

Melbourne City FC 5 1 1 3 6 11 4

Sydney FC 4 1 0 3 6 8 3

Western Sydney Wanderers 5 0 0 5 1 10 0

Australia hosts Chile in Two Match Friendly Series

Chile shocked Australia in the first game of their two-match 'Seven Consulting International Series' friendly series in Penrith (a suburb of Sydney) on November 10 with a 3-2 win in front of a crowd of 15,185. Francisca Lara (Seville FC of Spain) and Carla Guerrero (Rayo Vallecano of Spain) staked the visitors to a 2-1 lead by the 48th minute and Yessenia Huenteo (Colo Colo) scored to give Chile a 3-1 lead in the 90th minute. Australia's Emily Van Egmond had two penalty kick goals, the second late in injury time, to provide the final margin. Experienced Chilean goalkeeper Christiane Endler, who plays with Paris St. Germain in France after time at the University of South Florida, was a difference maker in goal for her side and is seen by many as one of the top goalkeepers in the world right now. Lara's goal was her 20th goal for Chile and she is her country's all-time leading scorer. Australia held the bulk of the possession, but Chile's quick counters was the difference.

Going into the second game in Newcastle on November 13, Australia had not won in three consecutive games, including the previous month in Europe, when they lost to France (0-2) and drew with England (1-1). Chile had two wins from their five previous games, included two defeats away to the United States and a win and a draw at home against South Africa. The first half of the second game looked more of the same as Australia could not score despite its superiority in ball control. In the second half, the Matildas broke lose as Caitlin Foord scored a hat trick with Sam Kerr and substitute Emily Gielnik adding late singles for a 5-0 win in front of 12,649 fans. Australia's head coach Alen Stajcic fielded three changes in the starting lineup from the 3-2 loss to Las Chicas de Rojo. Mackenzie Arnold and Alanna Kennedy came in for Lydia Williams and Laura Alleway respectively, while Gema Simon's inclusion at left-back saw Elise Kellond-Knight deployed in midfield.

Australia had a late change to their original squad for the Chile matches. Newcastle Jets defender Gema Simon replaced her club teammate Larissa Crummer due to injury. Crummer, who has played forward much of her career and has 23 caps, has been trying to convert to a center back. Simon has seven caps.

Australia Roster for Chile



Club, Country

A-International Caps (Goals)


Melbourne Victory, Australia

55 (2)

Mackenzie ARNOLD (Gk)

Brisbane Roar FC, Australia

21 (0)

Tameka BUTT

Melbourne City FC, Australia

72 (10)


Canberra United, Australia

26 (1)


Atletico Madrid, Spain

13 (1)


Sydney FC, Australia

142 (45)

Caitlin FOORD

Sydney FC, Australia

65 (11)


Melbourne Victory, Australia

22 (4)

Katrina GORRY

Brisbane Roar FC, Australia

71 (14)

Michelle HEYMAN

Adelaide United, Australia

60 (20)


Sydney FC, Australia

4 (0)


Melbourne City FC, Australia

100 (1)


Sydney FC, Australia

72 (6)


Perth Glory FC, Australia

70 (26)


Sydney FC, Australia

35 (6)


Brisbane Roar FC, Australia

110 (9)


Sydney FC, Australia

3 (0)


Newcastle Jets, Australia

7 (0)


Newcastle Jets, Australia

80 (16)


Melbourne City FC, Australia

73 (0)

Chile's roster for the Australia games included 12 players based in Spain, one in France, one in Brazil and one in Australia:


Christiane Endler – PSG Féminines (Francia)
Natalia Campos – Universidad Católica


Rocío Soto – Zaragoza CFF (España)
Su Helen Galaz – Zaragoza CFF (España)
Carla Guerrero – Rayo Vallecano (España)
Camila Sáez – Rayo Vallecano (España)
Ámbar Soruco – EDF Logroño Femenino (España)
Geraldine Leyton – Sporting Huelva (España)


Yessenia López – Sporting Huelva (España)
Francisca Lara – Sevilla FC (España)
Karen Araya – Sevilla FC (España)
Claudia Soto – Grêmio Osasco Audax (Brasil)
Ana Gutiérrez – CFF Cáceres (España)


María José Rojas – Canberra United (Australia)
Bárbara Santibáñez – Sporting Huelva (España)
Yanara Aedo – Valencia CF Femenino (España)
María José Urrutia – Palestino
Nicol Sanhueza – Palestino
Yessenia Huenteo – Colo Colo
Daniela Zamora – Universidad de Chile

Tim Grainey is a contributor to Tribal Football. His latest book Beyond Bend it Like Beckham on the global game of women's football. Get your copy today.

Follow Tim on Twitter: @TimGrainey

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