Sydney FC 2-0 Brisbane Roar
Report by Kieran Yap
Exclusive Photos From Leichhardt Oval by Kris Goman (3/2/22).
Above: Sydney FC’s Paige Satchell (middle) looks to escape from Brisbane Roar’s Katrina Gorry (left). Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.
Sydney’s 2-0 win over Brisbane Roar has extended their lead at the top of the table and earned the side a new record.
It was Jada Whyman’s eighth clean sheet in a row emphasizing the team’s status now as the defensive standard bearers in the A-League Women.
The game started off positively for Sydney FC. Charlize Rule played a clever cross into the area in the fifth minute. It was hit at an awkward height for the Brisbane defence who may have been anticipating a more lofted ball. They failed to clear it and it bounced across the face of the area where Maria Rojas turned it into the goal on the half-volley.
Brisbane had conceded early but responded positively. Katrina Gorry was typically involved in all areas of the pitch and tried to create something whenever she shot on the ball.
When Gorry gets the ball, her first instinct is to move, to sidestep, or to accelerate. Only once all other options are exhausted does she resort to passing backward. She remains one of the league’s most watchable players, her craft was sorely missed by The Matildas in India.
The Roar’s best chances on goal in the first half came through Shea Connors. The American striker was more mobile in this game. She started on the left as normal but moved through the centre and the right flank.
She had three shots on target, one from each position, but Whyman was equal to them, aided by her team’s defensive pressure.
Connors also created a chance for her side when her curled in pass was half-cleared and found Larissa Crummer. But the number nine blasted her shot over the bar.
Gorry tried her best to level the scores with a couple of efforts from outside of the area that missed the target.
Although Brisbane were doing most of the attacking since the goal, Sydney did not seem troubled. The midfield Sarah Hunter, Mackenzie Hawkesby, and Rachel Lowe closed down space and won the ball back quickly. Princess Ibini’s efforts to track back and help the defence were also notable in the first half.
Any plans Brisbane had at halftime were undone in the 49th minute, once again after some hesitant defending and once again within five minutes of kickoff.
Charlize Rule, the provider of the first goal, scored her third this season. A Sydney FC corner kick was not easily cleared. With Mia Bailey off her line, Rojas tried to hook it back over her head, but the young goalkeeper was able to backpedal fast enough to push it back into play.
Rule reacted faster than the defenders in the chaos and nodded home to extend Sydney’s lead.
As Brisbane chased the lead, and brought on Hollie Palmer to add some more creativity to the midfield, the visiting side was dealt another blow.
Annabel Haffenden lost possession to Rojas from the centre of defence. The Chilean striker raced towards goal and Haffenden pulled her back in a professional foul.
It was a straight red card, and with Brisbane already two goals and a player down, getting a result seemed impossible.
Charlize Rule had a case for being player of the match in this game. But her night was cut short after a clash of heads with Jessie Rasschaert ended with her substitution for Jessika Nash.
As Brisbane surged forward in search of a goal, Sydney FC almost added a third. Hawkesby’s long-range effort crashed off the upright as Bailey leapt to stop it. It was a spectacular effort that deserved a goal.
The game ended 2-0 and with Brisbane a player short. They came up against the premiers in waiting and could not find the goal they needed.
Sydney FC are virtually unstoppable. It is more than just quality, they have genuine depth. An attack missing Remy Siemsen and Cortnee Vine was still dangerous throughout. Paige Satchell’s pace keeps any fullback from straying too far upfield and Rojas scored one and impacted the game immensely.
The midfield has four high-quality players to fill three positions. Lowe, Taylor Ray, and Mackenzie Hawkesby form a hard-working, yet composed and polished trio. Sarah Hunter has further improved her game this season and was Sydney’s most involved player in the first half.
They have virtually no weaknesses. Most teams have one area of vulnerability. To defeat Sydney FC this season you cannot isolate one aspect of their squad. An opponent might have an attack that can match their defence, but does anybody have the squad to match them in midfield and attack all at once?
Sydney FC have more quality on their bench than some other teams do in their first XI.
Are they beatable this season? Only by luck.
Brisbane suffered another defeat, and it effectively ends their push for the top four.
They still remain consistently watchable. The Roar are an attack-minded, entertaining side that is struggling to finish chances and struggling to prevent opposition chances.
But this game was all about Sydney FC and Jada Whyman’s record. They are a team difficult to score against and difficult to prevent from scoring.
With only three home and away games remaining, they face Newcastle Jets, Perth Glory, and Adelaide United. They look likely to win these three games. The title is practically decided.
Kris Goman’s Exclusive Photo Gallery From Leichhardt Oval:
Click on the arrow at the right of the image to see the following photos.
Teams: SYDNEY FC (4-3-3): Whyman, Rule, Mclean, Tobin, Green, Lowe, Hunter, Hawkesby, Satchell, Rojas, Ibini. Substitutes: Hollman, Johnson, Nash, Offer (GK), Ray.
Scorers: Rojas 5′, Rule 49′.
BRISBANE ROAR (4-3-3): Bailey, Rasschaert, Rankin, Haffenden, Margraf, Kitano, Gorry, Hecher, Connors, Crummer, McElligott. Substitutes: Davern, Gett, Palmer, Tathem, Worth (GK).
Referee: Georgia Ghirardello.