Match Preview: City vs Perth
Melbourne City’s W-League side is set to round out its 2020/21 season with a clash against bottom-of-the-league Perth Glory this Thursday night at Frank Holohan Reserve.
The teams also met last Friday at Perth’s Dorrien Gardens, with City coming away from that clash 1-0 winners thanks to a 67th-minute goal from Rhali Dobson.
There’s a possible return from injury on the cards for Harriet Withers, who’s been named to the match day squad, but it’s unclear whether Rado Vidosic will actually play the forward in a final-game-of-the-season dead-rubber.
Here are the major talking points:
Rounding out season 2020/21
Alas, another W-League season has come and gone.
City fans would normally be preparing for a deep Finals run at this stage of this season, with the prospect of silverware typically creeping into the backs of our minds.
Not this year though, with the City girls left with very little to fight for ahead of our final game of the season.
This year, it’s about seeing how high we can sneak our way on the ladder depending on the result of this Perth clash; a point guarantees us seventh, a 5+ goal win sneaks us into sixth.
Surely we’ll do the latter…
Continuing the defensive improvement
Speaking of finishing the season strongly, this Friday’s game also represents an opportunity to record a third-consecutive win following 1-0 victories over Newcastle and Perth in recent weeks.
In that time we’ve managed to secure our second and third clean sheets of the campaign, owing to some improved defensive performances.
Jenna McCormick and Emma Checker have returned to their best form, whilst youngsters Tori Tumeth and Naomi Chinnama have provided a rare bright spot for fans hoping to see City develop some emerging talent throughout the campaign.
A third consecutive clean sheet is entirely feasible given our upcoming opposition and the City backline owe it to themselves to secure that achievement.
#ThanksRhali + Probably a last look at many…
(Bit of a double-edge talking point here)
It’s hard not to be a bit deflated writing this preview ahead of our final game in a season that went oh so poorly. It’s even harder to wonder how many City players will be playing their final game for the club on Thursday night.
Rhali Dobson announced earlier today that she planned to retire from professional football after 12 years in the game. The news likely came as a surprise to many, with the City winger still just 28 years of age. Nonetheless, we wish Rhali all the best and thank her for all the time she’s given us on the Talking City podcast over the years.
Beyond Dobson, it’s not known exactly who or how many players will be departing the club at the end of the season. One would assume that foreign acquisitions Chinatsu Kira and Noor Eckhoff are likely to return to their home nations, though American Sam Johnson seems a little more likely to stay given she’s now spent several seasons in the W-League and would benefit from building on her social/charity work here in Melbourne.
Then there are the likes of Micah, McCormick, Checker and Chidiac in particular who are likely to chase a European move as they look to bolster their chances of inclusion to the Matildas squads for the Olympics and 2023 World Cup.
We won’t go through every member of the squad, pointlessly speculating about their decision-making, but the point still stands overall; player retention is going to be difficult after a season like that.