Impetus’ Kris Goman, who has been watching Sydney FC for us regularly during the A-League Women season reviews their superb season and outlines why, for her, they will win tomorrow’s A-League Women Grand Final (26/3/22).
Above: Sydney FC celebrate in their incredible Semi-Final match with Melbourne City – they will be hoping to be doing so again on Sunday. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.
Well, here we are, a day before the last match of the season and it’s ending the same way it did last year. Hopefully not exactly the same way but the same two teams at the same oval. I honestly thought it would be Sydney and Melbourne City so credit where it’s due to Victory for making it back here.
This season Sydney have been a force to be reckoned with. Absolutely dominating. One loss for the season, two draws, and eleven wins from 14 hard-fought matches. They also broke the shut-out record along the way. Only six goals conceded and 36 scored for a goal difference of 30. The next closest was Melbourne City with 18. The stats speak for themselves.
But what they don’t describe is the incredible camaraderie of the team. This team has gelled like no other. The bulk of the team have been playing together for a long time now. They are young, they are well-drilled, they know what they are capable of and where they are going to be. They can rely on each other and the coach and understand what’s expected.
Despite long-time stalwart, Teresa Polias taking the season off to have a baby and losing Ellie Brush to an ACL injury before the season even started, Sydney have incredible depth. When you’ve got forwards the calibre of Cote Rojas, Paige Satchell, and Cortnee Vine coming off the bench, you know there’s going to be goals.
There are goal-scoring machines in Vine, Siemsen, and Rojas. Princess Ibini and Mackenzie Hawkesby will have a crack given any opportunity and even defenders like Ally Green and Sarah Hunter will get in there and score when you’re least expecting it.
The midfielders are providing both assists and goals. Impetus’ A-League Women Player of the Year Cortnee Vine has the most goals in the team with eight but the goal-scoring has been shared around and there have been ten different goal scorers during the season. Everyone is dangerous in the box and outside it.
While a lot of the attacking focus has been on Vine, who can seemingly split the opposition’s defence apart at will, Rojas has many tricks up her sleeve and can dazzle with her footwork and ball management skills. At the same time, Satchell is a bit overlooked and is as tenacious as they come and while she hasn’t been prolific in her goal-scoring, her runs to the box have been a thing of joy to watch.
As well as having arguably the best attack, Sydney also has the arguably best defence. Jada Whyman had eight consecutive shutouts this season. A record-breaking run for the A-League Women. In front of her are great defenders in Ally Green, Nat Tobin, Charlize Rule, and Charlotte Mclean, with backups of Jessika Nash and Sarah Hunter. These women don’t give up. They get in front of their players and they fight for the ball. They work seamlessly with the midfielders to drive forward and they are all pacey and can get back and recover ground quickly when required.
The midfield of Mackenzie Hawkesby, Taylor Ray, and Rachel Lowe is probably the most solid and versatile in the competition. They link the defence and attack, capable of doing both, capable of assists, capable of goals, capable of running their hearts out – just very capable.
The x-factor here though is that Sydney want this. Obviously, Victory want it too but Sydney have a point to prove after losing to Victory last year in the closest grand final ever. Kyra Cooney-Cross scoring an Olympico in the dying seconds of the injury time of the extra time was one for the ages. The match was literally seconds from a penalty shoot-out and that loss is a powerful driver.
Sydney and Victory have only played each other once this season and that was a 2-2 draw. Sydney certainly won’t be taking Victory for granted but revenge is a very powerful emotion. Sydney don’t want to watch Victory hoist the silverware in front of their home supporters. Sarah Hunter alone has invited 150 of her family and friends to watch this spectacular.
Sydney have the home ground advantage and the advantage of a week off to rest, recover, train, and strategize. Sydney won the double in 2009 and will be making sure they do it again this season. With four premierships to their name and three Championships, a win on Sunday would make it four and four which has never been done before. If I bet, which I don’t and don’t condone, I’d be putting my money on Sydney FC.
For Kieran Yap’s Melbourne Victory Grand Final preview article, click here: https://impetusfootball.org/2022/03/24/melbourne-victory-one-win-from-a-legendary-season/
This is the third article in our six days of Grand Final coverage on Impetus. Kieran Yap and Kris Goman have spotlighted both finalists, Ben Gilby will report on the Grand Final, with Kris Goman pitchside providing EXCLUSIVE photos from the game. Next week, don’t miss Kieran Yap’s Grand Final analysis. On Wednesday, we brought you the pre-Grand Final media events from both clubs – it can be read here: https://impetusfootball.org/2022/03/23/a-league-grand-final-the-view-from-sydney-fc-melbourne-victory/