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Sam Kerr leads Perth Glory over Melbourne City, to top of table

Sam Kerr celebrates a goal in Perth Glory's 3-2 win over Melbourne City. (photo by Perth Glory)

Sam Kerr celebrates a goal in Perth Glory’s 3-2 win over Melbourne City. (photo courtesy of Perth Glory)

On Tuesday, December 27, Perth Glory came from behind in the final 18 minutes to defeat Melbourne City on the road 3-2, behind two late goals from Sam Kerr (77th and 84th minute). Perth’s win—their fourth straight victory—gave the Western Australian team the sole lead at the top of the W-League table on 16 pts, one point ahead of FC Sydney. Melbourne City has lost three straight after opening the season with four consecutive wins, and fell to fourth place on 12 points, one point behind third place Canberra, who have played one less game than City and the two sides above them.

All the scoring came in a scintillating second half. Rosie Sutton scored her fourth goal of the season to open the scoring for the visitors in the 47th minute. Jess Fishlock (Seattle Reign) and Aivi Luik (Notts County and ex-FC Indiana/University of Nevada-Reno) scored in the 60th and 72nd minute respectively to give City the lead in front of an AAMI Park crowd of 1,938. Sam Kerr scored her first goal from a Sutton assist five minutes after Luik’s score. Two minutes later Lauren Barnes (Seattle Reign) was sent off the field with her second yellow card. Kerr then scored the winner for Perth from a tight angle against international teammate and City goalkeeper Lydia Williams. Kerr, with the brace, increased her league scoring lead to seven goals, three ahead of the nearest challengers—which include Sutton and Fishlock, as well as NWSL loanees Melbourne Victory’s Natasha Dowie (Boston Breakers), Western Sydney Wanderers’ Katie Stengel (Washington Spirit) and Newcastle Jet’s Jen Hoy (Chicago Red Stars).

For Perth, Alyssa Mautz (Chicago Red Stars), Nikki Stanton (Sky Blue FC), Vanessa Di Bernardo (Chicago Red Stars), Arianna Romero (ex-Houston Dash and University of Nebraska) and Kerr all started, with Di Bernardo subbing out in the 71st minute. For City, NWSL loanees Lydia Williams (Houston Dash), Laura Alleway (Orlando Pride), Steph Catley (Orlando Pride), Erika Tymrak (FC Kansas City), Bev Yanez, Fishlock and Barnes (all Seattle Reign) started, with Tymrak subbing out with 25 minutes left and Barnes dismissed with 11 minutes remaining.

Western Sydney Wanderers 2, Newcastle Jets 1

Katie Stengel (Washington Spirit) scored two first-half goals to overturn an early Jets lead and give Western City Wanderers a 2-1 win over host Newcastle Jets before a Boxing Day crowd of 2,268, the largest of the round. Australian full and youth international forward Jenna Kingsley gave the Jets an early lead with an 8th minute goal, but Stengel scored in the 11th and 30th minutes and the Wanderers held on for the win as the Jets missed narrowly on two excellent scoring chances in the second half. Chicago Red Stars Jen Hoy missed a chance to tie the game when her penalty kick bounced off the post in the 51st minute, after 17-year-old Wanderers goalkeeper Jada Whyman (a U-17 and U-20 Matilda) had taken Hoy down in her box. With less than 10 minutes left, Hoy again hit the woodwork, this time from the field of play.

Western Sydney, with its second consecutive win after last week’s shock defeat of slumping Melbourne City, now is tied for fifth with Brisbane on 10 points, just two points out of fourth in their quest for a first-ever playoff berth in their fifth season. Newcastle, with one point in their last four games, is in seventh with 7 points and five points from of a playoff spot.

Western Sydney’s American imports Kendall Fletcher (Seattle Reign) and Paige Nielsen (ex-Seattle Reign) all played 90 minutes, with Stengel (Washington Spirit) subbing out in the 70th minute while Alex Arlitt (FC Kansas City) did not play. For Newcastle, Katelyn Rowland (Western New York Flash) in goal, Megan Oyster (Boston Breakers), and Hoy all played 90 minutes. Arin Gilliland (Chicago Red Stars) did not play.

Sydney FC 1, Brisbane Roar 0

Sixteen-year-old Australian youth international forward Princess Ibini scored her first goal of the season to give Sydney FC a narrow 1-0 win over visiting Brisbane Roar on December 23 in front of 714 fans. Ibini scored on a tap-in when Australian international goalkeeper MacKenzie Arnold could not hold a shot by Australian international Georgia Yeoman-Dale, who was last capped in 2012. For Sydney, Australian NWSL players Alanna Kennedy (Western New York Flash) and Kyah Simon (Boston Breakers) played 90 minutes, Caitlin Foord (ex-Sky Blue FC) subbed in for the final 19 minutes and Nigerian international forward Francisca Ordega (Washington Spirit)—the team’s newest signing—played the last half hour. Maddy Evans (Orlando Pride) played 90 minutes for the Roar.

Sydney now is in second place on 15 points, one point behind Perth Glory. Brisbane’s loss was its second in five days and though Brisbane is tied for fifth with Western Sydney and only two points behind Melbourne City in their quest for the playoffs, they have played one more game than City and WSW.

Adelaide United, Canberra United and Melbourne Victory all had byes this round.

Table After Eight Rounds

  1. Perth Glory (5-1-1, 16 pts., +8)
  2. Sydney FC (5-2-0, 15 pts, +5)
  3. Canberra United (4-1-1, 13 pts, +8)
  4. Melbourne City (4-3-0, 12 pts, +3)
  5. Western Sydney Wanderers (3-3-1, 10 pts, -3)
  6. Brisbane Roar (3-4-1, 10 pts, -3)
  7. Newcastle Jets (2-4-1, 7 pts, -1)
  8. Melbourne Victory (0-4-3, 3 pts, -10)
  9. Adelaide United (0-4-2, 2 pts, -7)

Round Nine

Melbourne Victory vs Canberra United, 1:05 am EST (Wednesday)
Adelaide United vs Newcastle Jets, 3:30 am EST (Thursday)
Western Sydney Wanderers vs Sydney FC, 3am EST (Friday)

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