'The season is not over': Three things we learned - Sydney vs City
Our City girls have copped a major blow in the chase for silverware this season after succumbing to a clinical Sydney side yesterday afternoon.
Not only have we dropped points against a fellow title challenger, but we have given up the opportunity to close down Western United as they lost for only the second time this season Saturday afternoon. In terms of hunger for a result, it was definitely Sydney who seemed to want the three points more, now placing them in a great position to chase down the league leaders.
We started with the drive to move forward, with Hannah Wilkinson having a chance snuffed out by the Sydney keeper early, before our opposition began creating chances of their own. From the 20th-minute mark, it was mostly Sydney dominating the attacking chances, scoring with a looping shot in the 27th minute.
Unlucky not to equalise prior to the break, we were placed straight onto the back foot yet again as Courtney Vine ran through on goal to double the host's lead. Sydney's counterattacks proved to be too much to handle as they found their final goal of the afternoon to win by three goals in the end.
Tough result. Here are the three learnings from the match:
Our midfield is missing direction
An ongoing problem this season has been our inability to keep a consistent balance within our midfield. Either in attack or coming back to defend, we have often looked either lethargic or lost.
For example, Sydney was able to find plenty of space at the edge of the box on multiple occasions due to the lack of marking from our midfield players. In breakaway Sydney counterattacks, our defenders were pulled out of position to cover the gaps left in the middle of the park. But why?
Our midfielders are certainly not lazy by any means. It just seems to be down to the game plan, which poses the question: Is Dario Vidosic up to the task? There appears to be a disconnect in terms of our girls understanding exactly where they need to be or who they need to mark at any given time.
Sydney's first goal came from a loose player at the edge of the box, while four girls covered Madison Haley. Before we worry about the lack of goals up front, we certainly need to figure out the middle of the park.
The season is not over
This season has certainly had its up and downs in terms of injuries, results, and all-round performances. We have remained consistently at the top end of the table, but we must not allow ourselves to fall off now.
Although it will be a tough ask to chase down Western United - and Sydney considering their current form - we must keep our hope. Though we have had some tough results in recent times, our general play is still positive, often keeping majority of the ball during these games. The markings of a game plan are there, but the execution is missing.
With only six games left in the regular season and some tough opponents still to come (Western United, Victory and Sydney), a winning streak here could mean all the difference when it comes to the Premiers Plate race, and eventually finals.
One thing Dario Vidosic needs to do as soon as possible is fire the team up. Immediately. The season is not over.
Minutes for the kids
One positive that can be spun from the unfortunate result yesterday is that our talented youngsters gained valuable minutes in the second half. Surprisingly, Daniela Galic did not start the match, but thankfully came on after the hour mark.
It was fantastic to see Caitlin Karic get on the pitch as Bryleeh Henry was unable to offer an edge in the forward line, but I am unsure if the game was right for her. Karic plays very well when able to run at defenders, but Sydney was intent on putting bodies behind the ball yesterday afternoon. With not much support, Karic was often left stranded when taking on her player.
Isabella Accardo and Darcey Malone were provided with ten minutes at the end of the game, which was fantastic to see. One must hope that next time the girls are given minutes, it is rather on the winning side.
Development is important, and it is great to see that Dario Vidosic still has this in mind, even when facing a disappointing loss.
All in all, we must not drop our heads as Western United is up next Saturday afternoon. Never lose hope.