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Top three clubs fall as Wanderers, Roar eliminated from playoffs

Newcastle Jets defeated top-ranking Sydney FC, 3-1, in the W-League Round 13 action. (photo courtesy Sydney FC)

Newcastle Jets defeated top-ranking Sydney FC, 3-1, in the W-League Round 13 action. (photo courtesy Sydney FC)

A week of upsets in the penultimate round of the Westfield W-League saw no changes in the top three, who all lost, while Melbourne City’s 3-1 defeat of Brisbane eliminated Brisbane and Western Sydney from the playoffs.

Sydney FC 1, Newcastle Jets 3

Arin Gilliland (Chicago Red Stars) scored a second-half hat trick as Newcastle Jets defeated leaders Sydney FC on the road to give the winners all to play for next week in the race for the final playoff spot. Gilliland scored in the 57th, 74th and 78th minutes to stun the Sydney crowd of 1,029 on Saturday, January 21. Gilliland scored her first goals of the season in the hugely important match, while Kyah Simon (who this week announced that she would not be returning to Boston Breakers in 2017) scored in injury time for Sydney (her fourth tally of the year). Sydney FC has a two-point advantage over Canberra United and Perth Glory in the race for the Premiership title (Regular Season Champions) and the right to host a semifinal and the Grand Final (if they advance); the Blues play Adelaide United next week in the South Australian capital city.

For Sydney, Australian NWSL players Alanna Kennedy (recently traded to the Orlando Pride from the North Carolina Courage for 2017), Caitlin Foord (ex-Sky Blue FC) and Simon played 90 minutes, while Francisca Ordega (Washington Spirit) subbed out in the 84th minute for Remy Siemsen—a candidate for young player of the year award who has scored four goals this season. For Newcastle, Katelyn Rowland (Western New York Flash) in goal, Megan Oyster (Boston Breakers), Jen Hoy (Chicago Red Stars) and Gilliland played the entire match.

Newcastle (15 points) hosts Melbourne City (17 points) next week with the fourth playoff spot at stake. Newcastle has not made the playoffs since the first W-League season in 2008/09. Newcastle’s late drive to the playoffs, built off an undefeated run in their last four matches, has been surprising given that club all-time leading scorer Tara Andrews (who won a USL scoring title and Most Valuable Player award with the Colorado Pride in 2015) took a year off from the league. Over the years, the Jets have been selective in importing talent from abroad—most notably they had two-time German World Cup winner Ariane Hingst in 2011/12 (who is now on the coaching staff at German power club VFL Wolfsburg) as well as Americans Caprice Dydasco (2015/16) and Tori Huster (2012/13-2014/15) from the Washington Spirit, Angela Salem of the Boston Breakers (2012/13-2014/15) and former WPS player Alison Lipsher (2010/11), who now is an assistant coach at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Western Sydney Wanderers 1, Canberra United 0

Western Sydney Wanderers’ home win over Canberra United on Sunday, January 22 came from Katie Stengel’s goal near the end of the first half. Despite the win, the Wanderers were eliminated from the playoffs for the fifth season since joining the league, as Melbourne City won its game against the Brisbane Roar. Stengel now has six goals and WSW had to survive 10 minutes of injury time to defeat Canberra, joint second in the table.

American imports Kendall Fletcher (ex-Seattle Reign), Paige Nielsen (ex-Seattle Reign) and Stengel (Washington Spirit) all played 90 minutes, with Alex Arlitt (FC Kansas City) again sitting out the match to rest a knee she hurt several games ago. For Canberra, NWSL loanees Celeste Boureille and Hayley Raso (both Portland Thorns), Jasmyne Spencer (Orlando Pride) and Stephanie Ochs (Houston Dash) all started, with Ochs subbing out for Nicky Flannery in the 61st minute. Lisa De Vanna, who played the last two games of the 2016 NWSL season for the Orlando Pride, came in after an hour.

Melbourne City 3, Brisbane Roar 1

Erika Tymrak helped Melbourne City end its winless streak, defeating Brisbane Roar, 3-1. (photo courtesy Westfield W-League)

Erika Tymrak helped Melbourne City end its winless streak, defeating Brisbane Roar, 3-1. (photo courtesy Westfield W-League)

Melbourne City dominated an important home game on Sunday January 22 to defeat Brisbane Roar, 3-1. City, sitting perilously in fourth place entering the match and only a point ahead of Brisbane, gave itself some breathing room in order to make the playoffs again in just their second season. Melbourne City has a two-point advantage over Newcastle, who they travel to meet next weekend. If City wins or ties, they clinch the last playoff spot. Newcastle must win to advance. Brisbane and Western Sydney Wanderers were both eliminated with the result of this match—for Brisbane, this was only the second time (2014/15) that they have missed the playoffs in their nine-year history.

Melbourne’s first win in six matches came from Marianna Tabain’s 18th-minute goal (her third of the season in her 101st W-League match—one behind Clare Polkinghorne for the all-time league record) and two second-half strikes from New Zealand-international Rebekah Stott, who signed this week to play with the Seattle Reign for this coming season in the NWSL. Stott had only scored once before in the league (2012) while with crosstown rivals Melbourne Victory. Stott had played youth internationals for Australia before declaring at the full level for New Zealand, where she was born. Australian-international and former-FC Kansas City midfielder Katrina Gorry scored the Roar’s lone goal in the second half.

For City, NWSL loanees Lydia Williams (Houston Dash), Laura Alleway and Steph Catley (both Orlando Pride), Lauren Barnes, Beverly Yanez, Jess Fishlock and Stott (all Seattle Reign) played the entire match while Erika Tymrak (FC Kansas City) subbed in for the final half hour. Maddy Evans (Orlando Pride) played 90 minutes for the Roar, as did former-NWSL players Clare Polkinghorne (Portland Thorns) and Gorry.

Adelaide United 2, Perth Glory 1

Adelaide United used two goals by Chicago Red Star loanee Danielle Colaprico (her first goals of the season) to defeat Perth Glory away 2-1 on Sunday, January 22. Rosie Sutton scored her sixth goal of the season to give the Western Australia side an early lead in the 10th minute, but Colaprico struck in the 15th and 84th minutes for the win. Adelaide has not lost in their last five matches and pulls ahead of idle Melbourne Victory with the triumph into eighth place. A win at home next week against FC Sydney would give them their all-time record points total (14) in the W-League. Perth failed to take advantage of losses by the two sides ahead of them in the standings—Sydney FC and Canberra United. They will hope to defeat Western Sydney Wanderers in the Harbour City next weekend and that Canberra United drops points at home to Melbourne Victory in order to seize second place and a home playoff berth. Chicago Red Stars loanee Vanessa DiBernardo, who hit the woodwork with a long range blast, said, “It’s hard to lose that way, but the good thing is that we created a ton of chances. The best thing is that we’ve already made the final four, but we want to make the top two and, if we can, win the league.”

For Perth, Nikki Stanton (Sky Blue FC), Alyssa Mautz and DiBernardo (both Chicago Red Stars) and Ari Romero (ex-Houston Dash) played the entire match, while Samantha Kerr (Sky Blue FC) was ejected in the 90th minute for her second yellow card offense and will miss next week’s game. For Adelaide United, NWSL loanees Monica of Brazil (Orlando Pride), Sofia Huerta, captain Katie Naughton and Colaprico (all three from Chicago Red Stars) played the entire match.

Melbourne Victory had a bye week.

Table after Thirteen Rounds

  1. Sydney FC (7-3-1, 22 pts, +9)
  2. Canberra United (6-3-2, 20 pts, +8)
  3. Perth Glory (6-3-2, 20 pts, +3)
  4. Melbourne City (5-4-2, 17 pts, +3)
  5. Newcastle Jets (4-4-3, 15 pts, +2)
  6. Brisbane Roar (4-7-1, 13 pts, -6)
  7. Western Sydney Wanderers (4-6-1, 13 pts, -14)
  8. Adelaide United (2-4-5, 11 pts, +2)
  9. Melbourne Victory (2-6-3, 9 pts, -7)

Round Fourteen

Newcastle Jets vs Melbourne City FC, 1:20 am EST (Friday)
Canberra United vs Melbourne Victory, 12:00 am EST (Saturday)
Adelaide United vs Sydney FC, 10:30 pm EST (Saturday)
Western Sydney Wanderers vs. Perth Glory, 11:00 pm EST (Saturday)

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