Women’s Preview: Sydney FC prepare for top-of-the-table tussle

Sydney FC will face Melbourne City in a crucial one v two clash on Saturday at 5pm.

The Sky Blues currently sit second on the table, on a three-match unbeaten streak which most recently saw them defeat top six side Perth Glory 3-1, after a Cortnee Vine masterclass, which saw her score two goals and assist Maddy Casper’s opener.

Melbourne, on the other hand, have lost their last three out of four matches; with two of their opponents currently sitting outside the top six, including Canberra United, who they went down 3-1 to after newly promoted Matilda Michelle Heyman scored one and assisted two goals, with only 33{98698ff7ed92b99d4e0cecdfdc9e4dccf4922e0a04ff9db373daf4aa83b73fe2} of the possession to win the match.

With only seven rounds until the home-and-away season wraps up, this match will be the last time these two teams face each other in a potential finals match-up.

The Sky Blues will also want to win their first match against City in Melbourne since 2021 and win their first game against the side in just over a year after Sydney FC won 3-0 in 2023, where six players remain in the starting eleven that played in that match compared to last weeks starting line-up against the Perth Glory.

One’s to Watch (Matildas Version):

Two Sky Blues players and one Melbourne City player were called up for national duty on Wednesday morning for when they play against Uzbekistan in a few weeks.

Jada Whyman has been having a stellar 2023/2024 season, making crucial saves to deny the Sky Blues opponents. Sydney FC continues to have the lowest goals conceded against them, with 12 goal conceded, 13 fewer than their opponents.

Courtnee Vine with Matildas fans

Cortnee Vine’s efficient playmaking skills, which have seen her create opportunities for the Sky Blues along the left flank, earnt her another Matilda call-up. Five goals and three assists in eleven matches have reflected Vine’s impact on Ante Juric’s young side.

For the first time, Tony Gustavsson named Kaitlyn Torpey in the Australian side, saying, “She is confident on the ball, aggressive, and possesses speed.” Earlier this week, City announced that Torpey also announced that she is leaving City, after the Matildas for NWSL club San Diego Wave, for a record transfer fee.

Head-To-Head- 2023/2024

9-2-4MCY – RECORD – SYD6-5-2
5-1-1H2H in MELBOURNE1-1-5
63.1{98698ff7ed92b99d4e0cecdfdc9e4dccf4922e0a04ff9db373daf4aa83b73fe2}POSSESSION PG46.8{98698ff7ed92b99d4e0cecdfdc9e4dccf4922e0a04ff9db373daf4aa83b73fe2}
15.7SHOTS PG16.6
3.5SAVES PG2.7

How Sydney can win:

Sydney FC have only managed to win once, in Melbourne against City, losing five times previously.

According to the stats, Melbourne likes to dominate possession, compared to the Sky Blues, and isn’t afraid to unleash shots, 6.7 being the average amount of shots on target per year.

Sydney, however, has more clean sheets and fewer goals (0.8 compared to 1.7) conceded per game, which is a credit to the young Sydney defence and Jada Whyman.

If Ante Juric’s side can put in a solid defensive performance and create opportunities by exploiting the more central part of the City defence, like what Canberra did last match, it may see them defeat Melbourne.

Both teams in their huddles

How City can win:

Melbourne City can win by doing what they have done best this season: scoring goals.

City has the most goals scored this season with 32 and an average of 2.1 per game.

Melbourne’s attack is aggressive, fast and clinical. If they can move fast and create options out wide as they have in recent weeks and against the Sky Blues, it may see them take away the three points. 

Last time out: 

Sydney FC last versed Melbourne City in a dramatic 2-3 loss, where City scored three goals thanks to slick finishers in 25 minutes to stretch the game to 3-0 by halftime.

The Sky Blues turned the momentum around in the second half, scoring twice through Charlotte Mclean and Jordan Thompson.

But in the final ten minutes, the visitors hung onto the ball, pressing Sydney into their half. This high possession saw them edge out a 3-2 win in thunderous conditions.

Team News:

Melbourne City will have all but Holly McNamara after she tore her ACL in November.

Emina Ekic will also return from suspension. 

Sydney FC will be without Fiona Worts and Nat Tobin, but Lucy Johnson and Shea Connors may return if they are fit from their injury woes. 

Tori Tumeth vs Melbourne City last outing

What They Said: Cortnee Vine

 “I think versing Melbourne City is one of my favourite games. 

“They play some great football and have been up there with the best every year we have played them.”

Match Details:

Melbourne City v Sydney FC
Liberty A-League Round 16
Saturday 10th February, 2024
City Football Academy Field, Melbourne, VIC
Kick Off: 5:00pm AEDT
Gates Open: 4:00pm AEDT
Broadcast Live: Paramount+ and 10Play