Melbourne City will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing pair of defeats when we host Sydney FC in the A-League Women’s this Saturday.
All City fans will be able to enter the fixture for free, needing only to redeem a ticket via Ticketbooth to enter City Football Academy. Click here to do so now!
Here are a few of the key factors that will decide the contest.
Big boots to fill
Things won’t get any easier for Head Coach Dario Vidosic this week as he looks to replace two of the most important members of his line-up.
Captain Rebekah Stott and all-time City Women’s leading scorer, Hannah Wilkinson, are both away on international duty with New Zealand, leaving a couple of big holes in the XI.
The departures during the week of Kaitlyn Torpey and Lysianne Proulx won’t make things any easier, although City did play without the duo last week as they awaited their transfers being finalised.
A quartet of youngsters have been added to the extended squad to face Sydney FC, when there are set to be plenty of opportunities for some players who haven’t seen regular minutes this season.
One of Naomi Chinnama or Karly Roestbakken will likely shift central in place of Stott, opening the door for either Leia Varley or Tijan McKenna to return at full-back.
Replacing Wilkinson doesn’t seem as straightforward though, with a number of players in the mix to play as a number nine.
Bryleeh Henry could return to the starting XI to play up top, while Emina Ekic, Rhianna Pollicina and the recently returned Caitlin Karic all are options too.
A genuine six-point clash
Although we may be missing some key members of the squad, you wouldn’t expect there to be any excuses from Vidosic and his team as they prepare for a crunch 1v3 clash.
After a couple of disappointing results and those around us banking some wins, our gap at the top is now three points with less than two months of the season remaining.
A return to winning ways would be massive on Saturday with Sydney FC locked away with Western United behind us.
We’ll be looking to the likes of Pollicina, Ekic and Galic to bring plenty of creativity in the final third against a Sydney side that has conceded the least goals of any team in the league by far.
Stopping their run
While we’ve stumbled a little in recent weeks, Sydney has found their form – losing just once since we knocked them off away from home in late November.
We’ll take plenty of confidence from that 3-2 win in which Julia Grosso, Ekic and Galic were all on the scoresheet before the break in a scintillating first half performance.
Most recently it was a second half brace to World Cup hero Cortnee Vine that secured Sydney the points 3-1 against Perth Glory.
Melbourne City FC v Sydney FC
City Football Academy, Pitch 4
Saturday 10 February, 5:00pm KO