Talking Points: City primed to repeat feats of best-ever campaign
Melbourne City ended the Westfield W-League 2019/20 Season unbeaten, conceding just four goals in the process – a feat made all the more impressive by the fact they’ve done it before.
In the Westfield W-League 2015/16 Season City also leaked just four goals as they went unbeaten throughout the campaign.
They went on to secure the Championship in that season and look odds on to do the same this time around on the back of a frightening run of form.
Rado Vidosic’s side play host to Western Sydney Wanderers in a Semi Final contest on Sunday, March 15, and will approach the Finals Series high on confidence having notched their 11th-straight win of the season over Brisbane Roar in their final game of the campaign.
Brisbane’s Hollie Palmer scored a second-half goal for the visitors , ending City’s 729-minute streak without conceding across nine games.
It was just City’s fourth goal conceded for the entire season; the same amount they conceded in their unbeaten 2015/16 campaign.
With regular starting striker Claire Emslie unavailable, Ally Watt emerged from the bench to fire two second-half goals to ensure City kept their winning streak alive.
It’s a frightening sign of City’s depth which shows immense quality stretches right though Rado Vidosic’s preferred starting 11 and deep into his bench.
But can anyone stop the runaway Premiers? This season’s league results suggest it will be a difficult task for their Finals Series challengers Melbourne Victory, Sydney FC and the Wanderers.
In the four games City played against these three sides throughout the season they registered four wins, scoring 11 goals and conceding just one to the Sky Blues.
But despite putting four unanswered goals past Victory in Round 12, their local rivals arguably hold the biggest threat to City's seemingly unguarded title charge.
Jeff Hopkins' side have six wins from their last seven games; they've scored 20 goals along that stretch, conceding seven (four of which came from their Round 12 loss to City) and kept three clean sheets.
Victory's last two results - a thumping 7-0 win over Newcastle Jets and a 3-1 triumph over Sydney FC in Round 14 which sent them above the Sky Blues into second on the table - have the Victory well poised to progress past the Wanderers in the Semi Finals to set up a third and final showdown with City for the season on the biggest stage of all.
Four players take unique routes to share Golden Boot honours
It seemed Remy Siemsen would run away with the Westfield W-League Golden Boot in the early knockings of the 2019/20 campaign but a spread of standout individual performers across the league began to emerge as the season progressed, resulting in an unprecedented four-way split of the award.
Siemsen, Western Sydney’s Kristen Hamilton, Victory captain Natasha Dowie and Perth Glory’s Morgan Andrews scored seven goals apiece throughout the season, with all four players taking very different paths to reach their final tally.
Siemsen shot out of the blocks, scoring six goals in the first five rounds of the season – in the form of three braces in Rounds 1, 3 and 5 – to become the overwhelming favourite for the Golden Boot.
But just one goal was to follow in Round 8 against Canberra, taking her final tally to seven after her barnstorming start to the campaign.
Hamilton started similarly strong, scoring a hat-trick against Brisbane in Round 3 to take her tally to four goals after that particular round, but left it late to write her name in the history books with a brace in the Wanderers’ last game of the season against Perth Glory.
Dowie’s consistency in front of goal improved as the form of her Victory outfit improved throughout the season, notching braces in Round 2 and 10 to go with goals in Rounds 8, 11 and 13 to put her on seven goals ahead of the final round of play, but that’s where Dowie stayed after a goalless shift against Sydney FC in Round 14.
The final Golden Boot recipient of the season is Glory’s Andrews, who came out of nowhere to become one of the standout players of the Westfield W-League after a simply phenomenal end to what was shaping to be a forgettable season out West.
Andrews scored her first goal in Round 8 against Adelaide before firing in six goals from her last four games, scoring back-to-back braces against Brisbane Roar and Sydney FC in Rounds 12 and 13 and a header in the final round of the campaign to end the season as a shock Golden Boot winner.
Melbourne City’s Emily van Egmond almost added her name to the list of Golden Boot recipients in a final-round display worthy of an all-important seventh goal for the campaign.
Van Egmond went into Round 14 on six goals, one behind Siemsen and Dowie at the time; she spurned a sitter on the brink of half time and hit the bar in the closing stages of City’s clash with the Roar, somehow falling one goal short of the mark in her Golden Boot pursuit.
Westfield W-League 2020 Finals Series (Week One) – Semi-Finals
Melbourne Victory (2) v Sydney FC (3)
Date: Saturday, 14 March 2020
Venue: Epping Stadium, Epping
Kick-off: 2:00pm (AEDT)
Melbourne City FC (1) vs Western Sydney Wanderers FC (4)
Date: Sunday, 15 March 2020
Venue: ABD Stadium, Broadmeadows
Kick-off: 1:30pm (AEDT)