For the first time this season, Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers will do battle in the Liberty A-League as Ante Juric’s team travel to Marconi Stadium.
The Sky Blues got off the mark last week in a dominant performance against reigning champions Melbourne Victory where they created a multitude of chances and deserved more than just the two goals to their names. Jada Whyman was left relatively unchallenged however when called upon, she stood up to the challenge.
It was a much improved performance from the Sky Blues after their season began in Adelaide a week prior. On the artificial surface of Cromer Park, the midfield of Shay Hollman, Mackenzie Hawkesby and Sarah Hunter were super effective at shutting down the Victory attack and equally as pivotal moving forward for Sydney FC. Last week also saw debuts for Kirsty Fenton and Abbey Lemon which demonstrates the depth that Ante Juric has at his disposal this season.
If Jada Whyman and her Sydney FC team-mates are able to keep a clean sheet, it will place her level with Danny Vukovic as the 4th overall at the club for clean sheets. Amazingly she will do it in the same number of games, 33.
For Western Sydney Wanderers, they missed the first week of the competition with a bye and travelled to Maitland to take on Ash Wilson’s Newcastle Jets and it was a free scoring match with both teams finding the net. Wanderers struggled for goals last season and managed to find two last weekend, however defensively they leaked four to the Jets and the Novocastrians took all three points.
For Kat Smith’s side, they had to recruit well in the off-season following a disappointing campaign where they struggled for goals and creating chances. Last season they only won one match and finished level on points with newcomers Wellington Phoenix who played away from home for the whole season. There is a lot of responsibility on Kat Smith to drive the team to success as she takes the reigns this campaign.
Last season, the Sydney Derby had two iterations and Sydney FC ran out 2-0 winners in the first meeting thanks to a brace from Remy Siemsen including a stunning goal in the second half. In the second fixture, both teams cancelled each other out in a 0-0 however Wanderers should’ve been reduced to ten in the first half after Taylor Ray was hauled to the ground by her hair. While Taylor Ray misses this clash due to injury, it will be fresh in the minds of her Sydney FC team-mates as they look to build on the three points that they picked up last week.
The Sydney Derby rarely disappoints for supporters and neutrals alike and this edition will be no different as Western Sydney hunt for their first points of the season and Sydney FC look to build on their brilliant performance last week at Cromer Park.
Ones to Watch
Madison Haley – Sydney FC
Madison Haley announced herself to the Liberty A-League last weekend and in a statement manner. She missed the opening round clash against Adelaide United but you wouldn’t have been able to tell from her first half performance as she won the ball and drove towards goal on numerous occasions and found herself on the scoresheet with a terrific finish as she rounded Casey Dumont. This time out, in her first taste of Sydney Derby action, she will be looking to also find the net and prove to Ante Juric that she is deserving of that starting spot, especially with the arrival of Remy Siemsen last week.
The American and NCAA winner is a brilliant addition to Ante Juric’s team and she has already began to link up well with Cortnee Vine and Princess Ibini so the future bodes well for the Sky Blues and Haley.
Sophie Harding – Western Sydney Wanderers
Sophie Harding joins the Wanderers following a spell with the Newcastle Jets where she made over 25 appearances for the side from the Hunter. As a number nine, she had success with North West Sydney Spirit in the NPL where she scored six goals from 22 appearances in one season. She came onto the radar of Kat Smith and was signed to the Red and Black for this season as the Wanderers look to improve on their form in front of goal having one the fewest amount of goals last season and only finding the net four times in their opening 11 matches.
If Wanderers are going to nab a goal against Sydney FC this weekend, it may be from Sophie Harding on the counter attack.