Western United will enter the A-League Women for the first time for the 2022/23 season. (Photo: Western United FC; Design: Will Cuckson)

The competition’s newest team will provide opportunities for more footballers to play at the elite level.

Western United are in their first season, but they have not been thrown together in haste. Mark Torcaso has drawn heavily from his highly successful Calder United squad and signed some of the season’s most exciting recruits.

Last season:

This will be Western United’s first season in the A-League Women. Although they are a new club, they are not exactly created out of thin air. Western United have grown from the years long link with Calder United in Victoria’s NPLW.

The trophy collected coach of Calder, Mark Torcaso will take charge for the inaugural season. The core of the playing group are those either coming from the Victorian champions, or from the women’s development squad.

The program was designed to offer additional training for NPLW players, and a pathway to the A-League. The skills-focused training helped not only Calder win three trophies in 2022, but has helped prepare players for the step up in the top tier.

Western United are a new side, but are the product of longer term planning.

Biggest in:

In a side that consists of 100 per cent new signings, the options are plentiful for the biggest inclusion.

The first official signing by Western United was Alana Cerne. The Calder United midfielder was classy and consistent in a treble winning season.

Khali Johnson was announced during the Under-20 World Cup. The Young Matilda is an excellent addition. She is a player on the rise who can provide a goal-scoring edge to the side. American star Jessica McDonald will return to Australia and help boost their chances.

Stacy Papadopoulos and Silver Bell Morris are two fast rising stars in Victorian football. Papadopoulos is a terrific dribbler with good acceleration. She will be a handful for most opposition teams to deal with.

Morris was a fixture in the FV Emerging team that surged to the top four. Her last minute headed goal secured finals for the NTC development team.

Above all of these players, one name still stands above: Chloe Logarzo.

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Logarzo is a star or Australian football. The Matildas midfielder has had a long road back from a serious knee injury in September of 2021.

Western United will be a perfect fit for the Matildas star in lead up to the World Cup.

The United midfield has depth, class and a surprising amount of experience. Philippines international midfielder Jaclyn Sawicki will provide support along with Cerne, and former Victory midfielder Emma Robers. Logarzo will be free to get back to her best form at the club.

The former Sydney FC star will bring a bit of everything to Western United. Logarzo is a goal scoring midfielder with a tireless work rate and the technical ability to play in almost any position.

She is a star signing that will attract neutral observers and delight fans. Logarzo is one of the most skilled and beloved players in Australia. Everybody will be happy to see her back on the field, and will feel privileged if they watch her play live.

What to expect:

Calder United were a highly skilled, tactically disciplined attacking side. Although the A-League Women will be a significant step up for many players, expect much of the same for Western United under Mark Torcaso.

His sides like to dominate possession, but usually with a forward momentum. They look for space quickly and move the ball rapidly. As the NPL’s dominant team, fullbacks were more likely to run the ball forward than pass it backwards.

There will need to be an adjustment for some players in the A-League Women. But this will likely result in some inconsistency in momentum, and not a full change in style.

The players that have been signed show that Torcaso is likely to adopt familiar tactics at Western United. Raquel Deralas, Adriana Taranto and Melissa Taranto are not players who you would sign if you want to sit deep behind the ball.

Western United will want to get the ball on the ground and attack quickly. They will have some success this season and will be fun to watch. They have the talent and an impressive amount of depth. The only question is how long it will take for the players to adapt?

The Inner Sanctum’s predicted starting XI for Western United. (Design: Will Cuckson)

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