Westfield W-League round one review: Sam Kerr takes Perth Glory to the top

With almost 30 NWSL players in the W-League, plenty of them saw lots of action in the opening weekend of W-League play.

Westfield W-League round one review: Sam Kerr takes Perth Glory to the top
Perth Glory and Sky Blue forward Sam Kerr (left) scores a brace to give her team the 4-2 win. (Source: PerthGlory.com.au)

In the Westfield W-League’s ninth season opener this past weekend, eight out of the nine teams saw action. Canberra United saw a week without matches, but there was plenty of action to go around between the other eight - many of them featuring the NWSL players on loan.

Kennedy and Simon unable to get the result

Brisbane Roar FC hosted Sydney FC in the W-League’s season opener. Brisbane is the only W-League team not to have an NWSL player on loan, but Sydney featured Boston Breakers forward Kyah Simon and Western New York Flash defender Alanna Kennedy - both are Australian internationals for their respective NWSL clubs. Both Kennedy and Simon started and played the full match for Sydney. In a match that featured plenty of yellow cards and even at one point had former Sky Blue FC player Caitlin Foord sent off for Sydney after accumulating her second yellow, Sydney FC was unable away with any points.

Sydney FC will host cross town rivals Western Sydney Wanderers next Saturday.

Bulk of NWSL players each take a point in Adelaide

In an exciting match that featured the Chicago Red Stars trio of Sofia Huerta, Danielle Colaprico and Katie Naughton as well as the Orlando Pride’s Brazilian defender Monica for the home side Adelaide United, Houston Dash goalkeeper Bianca Henninger had a lot to handle in goal for the Melbourne Victory. Henninger wasn’t alone on the Victory though, with Breakers international Natasha Dowie, Red Stars defender Sam Johnson and Washington Spirit midfielder and Victory captain Christine Nairn. All eight NWSL players started and played full 90s for their respective teams.

It was a high scoring match, with the first goal being scored in the 13th minute for Adelaide, and it just kept going from there. Breakers forward Dowie scored in the 16th minute for the Victory to keep the game level. Minutes later, Colaprico played a nice through ball to Huerta, who found forward Adriana Jones in the 19th minute to put Adelaide United up 2-1 by half.

Sofia Huerta (right) and Sam Johnson (far right) competing in their first W-League match up. | Source: Morne de Klerk - Getty Images

There wouldn’t be another goal for either side until the 63rd minute, when goalkeeper Bianca Henninger would send a ball from outside of her box to find Dowie, who played it quickly out wide to Kariah White for a great cross off and a header and brace for Natasha Dowie. The Victory wouldn’t be able to come away with the result though, as Monica netted one in the 75th minute to end the match in a draw.

Melbourne Victory will host the Newcastle Jets next Saturday while Adelaide United will have an bi-week.

Lauren Barnes welcome by City with assist

Last year’s W-League Champions opened their season by hosting the Newcastle Jets. Melbourne City captain Steph Catley, on loan from the Orlando Pride, would see three points along with FC Kansas City midfielder Erika Tymrak, Houston Dash goalkeeper Lydia Williams and Seattle Reign players Jess Fishlock and Lauren Barnes. On the Newcastle Jets side, Washington Spirit goalkeeper Kelsey Wys started as well as her teammate Megan Oyster and Red Stars Jen Hoy and Arin Gilliland. They would all see 90 minutes of action, with Catley being subbed off in stoppage time.

A goal in the eighth minute of play would send the tone for this one. City’s forward Marianna Tabain would find the back on the net, with an assist from NWSL player on loan Lauren Barnes. Williams was rewarded with a shutout, and Melbourne City continue to keep winning in the 2016-2017 season.

Next Friday, Melbourne City will travel to take on Canberra United. The Newcastle Jets will be back in Melbourne on Saturday, but this time they will take on Melbourne Victory.

City's Jess Fishlock and Lydia Williams face a close call as the ball rolls just past the post. | Source: @MelbCityWFC

Kerr and company top the table with Perth

To wrap up the weekend, Perth Glory FC hosted the Western Sydney Wanderers in a high scoring match. Sky Blue FC players Sam Kerr and Nikki Stanton returned to Perth along with Red Stars Alyssa Mautz and Vanessa DiBernardo. Despite an attempt at a late comeback, FC Kansas City’s Alex Arlitt, Reign’s Kendall Fletcher and Spirit’s Katie Stengel were unable to level the game. All NWSL players would see action, with DiBernardo being subbed on in the 61st minute.

Action started early for the last match of the weekend, with a goal coming in the first minute, assisted by none other than Perth forward Sam Kerr. Perth would score another before the Wanderers had an answer in the 38th minute. The opening of the second half looked promising for Western Sydney, scoring in the 50th minute. However, Sam Kerr wouldn’t let it stand, scoring herself a brace in the 63rd and 83rd to give the Glory all three points.

Top of the table Perth Glory hosts Brisbane Roar next Saturday, while Western Sydney Wanderers go home to take on crosstown rivals Sydney FC.

The full W-League schedule along with results and match stats can be found on their website.