Match Preview: Western United v Wanderers

The Western Sydney Wanderers A-League Women’s team return to action after a week off, as they look to grab their first win of the season when they face last year’s grand finalists Western United.

Despite showing positive signs – including scoring four goals in their last two matches – the Wanderers still sit without a win after four games of the season.

Their last match was a difficult away trip against second placed Melbourne City; the side fell behind 2-0 before Sophie Harding scored just before half-time to narrow the deficit.

Holly McNamara then scored twice to give the home side a healthy lead, but the Wanderers refused to lie down, once again bringing the margin back down to one thanks to goals from Vicky Bruce and a second for Harding.

The side fought to complete a brilliant comeback, but they fell just short and were consigned to a 4-3 defeat.

Despite the result, the spirit and fight shown by the side will encourage coach Robbie Hooker, as will the recent performances of Vicky Bruce and Sophie Harding.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 12: Kaitlyn Torpey of Melbourne City controls the ballduring the A-League Women round four match between Melbourne City and Western Sydney Wanderers at AAMI Park, on November 12, 2023, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Bruce has scored in back to back games, and her knack for getting on the scoresheet even whilst playing as a centre back could prove crucial as the season goes on.

Harding scoring a brace against a strong Melbourne City side is also a positive sign, as the speedster could be a game changer for the Wander Women; the attacker scored twice and got four assists last season, and with a greater role in the side this season, she is well on the way to surpassing that tally this season.

There is no doubt the points and wins need to start coming for the Wanderers as they look to climb the table, especially as there are multiple teams within touching distance of the side on the table.

Whilst their opponents Western United have won twice so far this season, they look off the pace they set last season when they shocked the league and went on a run to the Grand Final in their first ever season.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 12: Cushla Rue of the Wanderers and Julia Grosso of Melbourne City compete for the ball during the A-League Women round four match between Melbourne City and Western Sydney Wanderers at AAMI Park, on November 12, 2023, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Mark Torcaso’s side has been plagued by inconsistency to begin the season, with wins over Melbourne Victory and the Brisbane Roar punctuated by difficult losses on the road to the Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix.

Losing the likes of Angela Beard, Sydney Cummings and Danielle Steer has hurt the side, and they are struggling to rediscover their form from last season that saw them finish with 39 points in the regular season.

Despite United’s run to the Grand Final, they did suffer defeat when they first faced off against the Wanderers in January; the scores were locked at 1-1 after Sarina Bolden and Hannah Keane both got on the scoresheet early, but a brilliant goal from current Wanderers captain Amy Harrison just after half-time gave the Wanderers the lead back, and they managed to hold on for a crucial victory against a top side.

In the return fixture – the last game of the season for the Wanderers – United this time hit the front thanks to a Keane double, and despite Sienna Saveska scoring with just 10 minutes to go, the Wanderers couldn’t find an equaliser and fell to a 2-1 defeat.

With the international break fast approaching, this weekend would mark the perfect time for the Wanderers to get a win on the board and build a platform to launch a successful season, and against an up-and-down Western United side, it could be the perfect time to do so.