Ben Gilby reports on both head coach’s media conferences ahead of Sunday’s A-League Women match at Macedonia Park – plus all the details as Matildas star Chloe Logarzo returns to Western United long term (24/3/23).
Above: Perth Glory boss Alex Epakis. Image: Perth Glory.
Perth Glory head coach Alex Epakis wants his team to end their home campaign on a high note against Melbourne City to give club legend Kim Carroll a big send-off and keep their Finals hopes alive.
However, it will be no easy feat. As well as taking on third-placed City, Glory come into the match on the back of a marathon 5,254km (3,265 miles) journey from their previous match at Wellington Phoenix, with stopovers between flights.
“It was a long trip and (there were) a lot of aspects to it with stopovers too,” Epakis recognised. “We got what we wanted – the performance and the result. We’ve been building players up steadily knowing we have a bit of fatigue still in us.”
Perth’s head coach was delighted by his team’s efforts in New Zealand – where they defended excellently in the face of pressure from the Nix.
“I had been disappointed with the goals that we had conceded in the two games prior…but the players responded really well as we were under the pump a bit and we defended the box well in numbers. I was really pleased with not just the defence, but the whole team had the mentality to contribute to the defence.”
Sunday’s match against Melbourne City begins Perth’s end-of-season sequence of three games in three states in six days. It’s a tough ask, but one Epakis believes offers his side a chance to end the season on a high.
“Whilst we know what is ahead, we don’t look too far ahead, take match by match, day by day. City is a real opportunity for us if we are focused. Then Sydney, then Brisbane.”
Melbourne City’s strong squad and possession-based game are well-known, but the Glory head coach believes that his team’s performance against Dario Vidosic’s team earlier in the season means that the purples are more than capable of securing a vital three points.
“When you look at their squad and playing style, they (Melbourne City) are well balanced. They have a clear identity with what they need to do. We need to match and be good with the ball and without the ball.
“We’ve taken inspiration from what we did the last time we played them – we had a strong performance. We had some really good opportunities. We can definitely go toe-to-toe with them.”
As well as Sunday being the club’s last home game of the season, it will also be the last time that club legend Kim Carroll will pull on a purple shirt in Western Australia, and Epakis underlined the importance of giving the former Matilda a big and victorious send-off.
“Given that everyone has a lot of respect and love for Kim, emotion was shared when it was announced and for the match coming up as it’s her last home game – rightly so as she has been a fantastic person for the team, the club, and the game in general. She deserves all the accolades. There is extra motivation for the team to put on a performance that she will remember for her last home one.”
The message from Melbourne City head coach Dario Vidosic to the media today was very simple – “We’re going to Perth, we’re going to win, and we’re going to play.”
However, Vidosic identifies three significant hurdles that his team will need to overcome in order to get that win – the travel to Perth with associated disruption to sleep, the significance of it being Kim Carroll’s final home match, and Perth’s need to win the match.
“It’s a hard trip with the time zone and sleep, but once you cross that white line, there are no excuses. If we play our football we’ll be fine. We’ll play our way.
“They have a game they must win. Maybe they will throw a bit more numbers forward and search for that winning goal. We’ve analysed their games. It’s always very hard – they are at home. For Kim, it’s her last home game before her retirement. It will be a great day, a great occasion. We are expecting the best Perth Glory to play against us this season.”
The City boss was asked if he agrees with the assertion that the number of young Victorian-born players that Perth have in their side is a factor as they may seem extra motivated to play against a Melbourne team having not had “a fair crack in Victoria”.
“We keep in mind all their players, not just their Victorian ones. We know their mindset, they have to beat us. The meaning it has for them carries weight. We have to win too, if we don’t we could have a do-or-die game next weekend.”
Vidosic also spoke of his pride in Holly McNamara being called back into the international set-up for Australia’s forthcoming matches with Scotland and England so soon after her return from an ACL injury.
“She’s a very, very good player. They (the Matildas’ coaching staff) have seen a lot of her beforehand. She did well when she came in prior to her injury. She’s a fantastic player and she thoroughly deserves it for all the hard work she did in rehab. She has a great mindset.”
With Vidosic having a plethora of attacking options up his sleeve for the match, he outlined how he goes about fitting them into his squad.
“It depends on what tactical idea we want to go with. We’ve decided what we want to do in Perth. We have a lot of quality – it’s about finding the best way to help the team. We have good quality to impact the game, and everyone to play their part. In some games, we may need X players, in other games, it may be Y.”
Major boost for Western United as Logarzo commits
Matildas star Chloe Logarzo will return to Western United for the remainder of the 2022/23 Liberty A-League Women season, and for the entire 2023/24 campaign.
Logarzo departed Western United in February when her loan contract came to an end, but the midfielder has now re-joined United as a free agent having been released from Kansas City Current.
The 28-year-old will step back into the No.6 shirt that she worse on six occasions earlier in the Liberty A-League season.
Logarzo said she was grateful and overjoyed to be able to return to the club and pick up where she left off.
“I’m extremely excited to re-join the girls and the Western United fans. I feel very blessed that the team are here to support me in any and every way possible,” she said.
“The girls have been doing an incredible job and I’m looking forward to supporting and driving the team to get the very best out of every single person.”
Western United Head Coach Mark Torcaso said Logarzo’s arrival would provide his team with a significant boost heading into the Liberty A-League Finals, while also admitting her commitment to next season offers a statement of United’s continued intent in the competition.
“Chloe coming back is immensely exciting for us and will provide everyone with a big lift heading into the final weeks of this season,” he said.
“Everyone knows her talent, but Chloe’s leadership and contribution to our team culture was above and beyond what I or any of our staff could have expected.
“That’s why it is so important to have her back for what’s left of this season and also heading into next year. We want to continue setting high standards for our program and Chloe being here will certainly help us do just that.”
Logarzo debuted for United in the Club’s inaugural match against Melbourne Victory on 19 November and went on to score three goals in her six matches – a brace against Melbourne City and an additional strike against Perth Glory.
Her minutes were ultimately limited due to a foot injury, but Logarzo has now returned to fitness and is ready to get back on the pitch at a high level ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Logarzo will arrive back in Melbourne next week with an eye on featuring in the Finals Series as United chases silverware in its inaugural season in the Liberty A-League.