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Canberra United and Adelaide United explode for big wins

Ashleigh Sykes scored four goals in Canberra United's 7-2 win over Perth Glory. (photo courtesy Canberra United)

Ashleigh Sykes scored four goals in Canberra United’s 7-2 win over Perth Glory. (photo courtesy Canberra United)

Canberra overwhelmed Perth Glory 7-2 in the battle between second and third place sides, with five first half goals—including a hat-trick by Ashleigh Sykes—at home on Saturday, January 14 in front of 1,153 fans. Sykes added a fourth goal shortly after the second half kicked off. Stephanie Ochs (Houston Dash), Hayley Raso (Portland Thorns) and 17-year-old Australian youth international Grace Maher scored the other goals. Ochs now has three goals on the year while Raso and Maher each scored their second. Perth tallied twice in the last half hour when Canberra had built a 7-0 lead. Emma Checker pulled down Sam Kerr (Sky Blue FC) in the penalty box and Vanessa DiBernardo (Chicago Red Stars) scored her fourth goal of the season when she converted the penalty kick. Kerr added a late tally to take her lead league to 10, now tied with Sykes after her superlative effort on the day. Sykes has 34 goals all-time in the Westfield W-League while Kerr has 40.

For Canberra NWSL loanees Celeste Boureille (Portland Thorns), Jasmyne Spencer (Orlando Pride), Raso and Ochs all started while Lisa De Vanna (Orlando Pride) came on in the 51st minute for Sykes. Ochs (61’) and Boureille (71’) were subbed out before the end of the match. For Perth, Nikki Stanton (Sky Blue FC), Alyssa Mautz (Chicago Red Stars), DiBernardo, Kerr and Ari Romero (ex-Houston Dash) all played the entire match.

Although Canberra and Perth are now tied for in points (20), Canberra has a better goal differential (+9 vs. +4), edging Perth out for second place. First and second place clubs host semifinals, so goal differential could be a decider in both teams bid for second—or even first if leaders Sydney FC slip up.

Adelaide United 10, Western Sydney Wanderers 2

Adelaide United won its first game of the season in breathtaking fashion, scoring 10 goals against Western Sydney Wanderers on January 14. Chicago Red Stars forward Sofia Huerta and Australian youth international Adriana Jones scored a hat trick each, Rachel Quigley scored a brace and Alexandra Chidiac and Ally Ladas both added singles. Huerta and Jones each have seven goals this season—tied for the team lead—while Quigley has four, Chidiac has two and the 19-year-old Ladas scored her first ever W-League goal.

In a stunning match, Western Sydney actually held the lead in the 17th minute through an own goal by Adelaide’s goalkeeper Sarah Willacy from Helen Petinos’ corner, before Quigley and Jones—from the penalty spot—gave Adelaide a narrow 2-1 lead at home at the break. The second half saw an explosion of goals for Adelaide (eight) while Erica Halloway scored the Wanderers’ second near the hour mark. Adelaide’s previous largest margin of victory was over Newcastle 5-1 last season, and the 10-2 victory was the third highest margin of victory all-time in the W-League, behind Sydney’s 11-0 victory over Perth Glory in 2011/12 and Perth’s 10-1 victory over the Western Sydney Wanderers in the 2014/15 season. The 10 goals scored was tied behind Sydney’s game with Perth for most goals by one team in a game. The 10-goal outburst leaves Adelaide second in the league in goal-scoring with 24, behind Canberra’s 28 after their own weekend goal fest (seven tallies). The Red’s 24 goals are six more than they have ever scored in a single season, surpassing the 18 they finished with last season.

For Adelaide, NWSL loanees Monica of Brazil (Orlando Pride), Danielle Colaprico, Katie Naughton and Huerta (all three from Chicago Red Stars) started the game, while Monica substituted out in the 77th minute for Lucy Adamopoulos. Western Sydney’s American imports Kendall Fletcher (Seattle Reign FC), Paige Nielsen (ex-Seattle Reign) and Katie Stengel (Washington Spirit) all played 90 minutes, while Alex Arlitt (FC Kansas City) did not play again this week, as club officials told this reporter that she is “battling a knee injury.”

Newcastle Jets 2, Brisbane Roar 1

Jen Hoy scored twice, in the 9th minute and then in second half added time after Jets veteran forward Rhali Dobson found her in the box with an inspired square pass, to give Newcastle Jets a narrow 2-1 home victory over Brisbane Roar on Sunday January 15 in front of 2,146 fans. Hoy now has six goals in her first season in Australia. Matildas’ midfielder Tameka Butt (who played with Boston Breakers in WPSL Elite in 2012) scored the lone Roar goal on a penalty in the 45th minute, her sixth of the season. The Roar’s Australian international goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold was red carded in the 82nd minute after bumping Hoy with her shoulder in the box and Australian youth international Georgina Worth came in. Worth blocked the penalty that was taken by Arin Gilliland (Chicago Red Stars) before Hoy secured the three points with her late winner.

Roar remained in fifth (13 points) but the Jets moved to one point behind (12 points), just out of the final playoff spot held by City (14 points). The Roar has played one more game but both Brisbane and Newcastle play Melbourne City during the last two rounds of the regular season.

For Newcastle, Katelyn Rowland (Western New York Flash) in goal, Megan Oyster (Boston Breakers), Gilliland and Hoy all played 90 minutes. Maddy Evans (Orlando Pride) played 90 minutes for the Roar as did former NWSL players Katrina Gorry and Claire Polkinghorne.

Melbourne Victory 2, Melbourne City 0

Natasha Dowie (Boston Breakers) and Christine Nairn (Seattle Reign) scored first-half goals to give Melbourne Victory its first derby win in four matches with Melbourne City on Sunday January 15. City’s defeat left them winless in five consecutive matches after opening the season with four straight wins and winning the 2015/16 title without losing a match. City denominated possession and Welsh-international midfielder Jess Fishlock (Seattle Reign FC) missed a penalty late in the match, but Bianca Henninger (Houston Dash) earned Victory’s first shut out of the season over their rivals.

For Melbourne Victory, NWSL loanees Samantha Johnson (Chicago Red Stars), Henninger, Nairn and Dowie played the entire match. For City, Lydia Williams (Houston Dash), Laura Alleway and Steph Catley (both Orlando Pride), Lauren Barnes, Beverly Yanez and Fishlock (all Seattle Reign) played the entire match, while Erika Tymrak (FC Kansas City) came on for the final 12 minutes of the match.

Table after Twelve Rounds

  1. Sydney FC (7-2-1, 22 pts, +11)
  2. Canberra United (6-2-2, 20 pts, +9)
  3. Perth Glory (6-2-2, 20 pts, +4)
  4. Melbourne City (4-4-2, 14 pts, +1)
  5. Brisbane Roar (4-6-1, 13 pts, -4)
  6. Newcastle Jets (3-4-3, 12 pts, 0)
  7. Western Sydney Wanderers (3-6-1, 10 pts, -15)
  8. Melbourne Victory (2-6-3, 9 pts, -7)
  9. Adelaide United (1-4-5, 8 pts, +1)

Round Thirteen

Sydney FC vs Newcastle Jets, 1:00 am EST (Saturday)
Western Sydney Wanderers vs Canberra United, 10:30 pm EST (Saturday)
Melbourne City vs Brisbane Roar, 1:00 am EST (Sunday)
Perth Glory vs. Adelaide United, 5:00 am EST (Sunday)

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