Jess McDonald Makes History With Western United Win

Western United 1-0 Melbourne Victory

By Kieran Yap (19/11/22)

Above: Celebrations after Jess McDonald’s historic goal for Western United. Photo: Western United.

Western United have arrived in the A-League Women. The competition’s newest side defeated the reigning champions Melbourne Victory 1-0 in front of over 2,500 fans at City Vista.  

The match was an important one for both dedicated fans and neutrals. Chloe Logarzo was named in the squad for Western United, while Elise Kellond-Knight lined up for the visitors. 

The two Matildas returned to the field and the Australian topflight after both recovered from long-term injuries.  

But this match about was more than just two players. This was a meeting between two teams looking to start the season off with a win, and the first local derby for the well-supported Victorian clubs.  

Conditions were windy. Any ball in the air had the potential for either chaos or waste. Although the rain cleared and both teams had attacking talent to spare, chances were hard to come by.  

Above: The Western Core, the A-League Women’s newest Active Support Group had plenty to make noise about at City Vista. Photo: Western United.

Melina Ayres looked the most dangerous in Victory’s first half. A half volley and another shot soon after was well-struck but marginally off target.  

Up the other end, Hannah Keane was a hard-working threat to Victory’s defence. The American striker weaved her way into the box from the left but elected to cross to compatriot Jess McDonald instead of taking on the shot herself.  

The Western United number nine had two more attempts in the first half. A volley on the turn whistled over the crossbar, then after benefiting from a turnover, she had another effort skim just wide of the bottom corner.  

New Victory full-back Jessika Nash impressed Victory fans whenever she drove forward with the ball. The Young Matilda combined with Catherine Zimmerman to play in Tiffany Eliadis, but Hillary Beall was off her line quickly to snuff out the danger. 

When the goal came, it was suitably through one of the big-name recruits. A Western United attack forced a close-range save from Casey Dumont, but the ball was deflected back into a dangerous area. Jess McDonald made the most of the half chance to sweep the ball low beyond Casey Dumont.  

Western United manager Mark Torcaso had named an attacking line-up and the lead was well deserved. They were not intimidated by one of the league’s benchmark sides.  

Above: Western United goal scorer Jess McDonald leads the celebrations. Photo: Western United.

Although Victory enjoyed plenty of possession, clear-cut chances were rare. Ayres’s flick put asked Chidiac in on goal, but her lofted shot bounced just wide of the goal with Beall beaten on a rare occasion for the afternoon. 

Although Victory pressed for the rest of the game, the equalising goal never arrived. The introduction of Amy Jackson and the shift of Zimmerman to centre forward gave them more control of midfield, but Alana Cerne and Sydney Cummings were commanding be composed in defence, while the introduction of Chloe Logarzo only made things tougher for Victory. 

The final whistle sent The Western Core into raptures, while Victory’s title defence got off to a less-than-ideal start.  

It was a competitive and compelling football match, if not one packed with highlights. Despite the conditions, there was still plenty to celebrate. Logarzo and Kellond-Knight emerged unscathed, and biggest cheer of the day was reserved for Aleks Sinclair’s arrival on the pitch in her overdue A-League debut. 

Melbourne Victory’s start to the season does not get any easier. They face an away trip to face Sydney FC for round two. The Grand Final rematch now has even higher stakes after this early setback.  

Western United fly off to play Wellington Phoenix. The win will give them confidence against a team that knows what it’s like to be the new kids on the block and will be unlikely to provide any favors. 

Above: Scenes of joy in the dressing room after Western United’s superb win. Photo: Western United

Teams: WESTERN UNITED (4-3-3): Beall, Iermano, Cummings, Cerne, Papadopoulos, Robers, M.Taranto, A.Taranto (Logarzo), McDonald, Keane, Johnson (Sinclair).

Scorer: McDonald 54′.

MELBOURNE VICTORY (4-3-3): Dumont, Tathem (Kos), Bunge, Morrison, Nash, Kellond-Knight, Eliadis (Jackson), Chidiac, Zimmerman, Ayres (Briedis), Goad,

Referee: Lara Lee.

Attendance: 2,753.

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