21/02/2024

Hannah Wilkinson (L) and Rebekah Stott (R) will both be huge losses for Dario Vidosic as they are with the New Zealand National Team for Olympic qualifiers. Photos supplied by Melbourne City,

Throughout the majority of the Liberty A-League season, Melbourne City had looked untouchable as confidence and momentum continued to build.

However, they were brought back down to earth last week in a shock 3-1 defeat at the hands of Canberra United in what may be considered a wake-up call.

Still three points clear of both Western United and Sydney FC, City will be hoping to widen the gap at the top of the table against the Sky Blues tomorrow evening.

Chance to review and grow

They say that it is better to lose during the regular season as opposed to finals football, and that is the exact approach that City will take.

Talking to the media on the eve of arguably the biggest game of the season thus far, coach Dario Vidosic reviewed the tape against Canberra and analysed it accordingly.

“It was literally just moments where we knew their threat and how they want to play,” Vidosic explained.

“We just switched off and unfortunately we got punished, so that was a little frustrating [because] we created some good chances early on.

“Our intent, effort, and willingness in the front to run and try and penetrate was all a bit lacking.”

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Player departures

Recently rewarded for their respective stints at the club, goalkeeper Lysianne Proulx and defender Kaitlyn Torpey signed deals to join the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in the United States.

Proulx, 24, broke City’s transfer record just days after Torpey achieved the same feat in what further outlines the impressive production of players from the Melbourne-based club.

Disappointed that the pair couldn’t contribute to the rest of the season, Vidosic revealed that he’s happy to see their careers progress.

“Everyone was excited when we all got the news,” he said. “Probably me the least because we lose two very good players and very good people.

“We’re happy that they were able to showcase their talents and from that they were noticed. Within three days the transfer record was broken, so that’s what we try to offer for those young ladies to chase their dream.

“It’s really pleasing to see them rewarded.”

Opportunities to step up

The international window means that New Zealand representatives Hannah Wilkinson and Rebekah Stott have travelled with the Ferns for the Paris Olympic qualifiers.

That leaves opportunities for other players in the City squad to grasp with both hands as Vidosic touched on the potential to embed some younger players in an important fixture.

“I think Kiera [Meyers] from last season, thinking about the young ones, she came in and her first action was a flip-flap and a step over,” he said.

“Not just her but we’ve got Shelby [McMahon], Izzy [Accardo], so a lot of young players will now potentially get an opportunity to play and I think it’s exciting for them as much as it is for us.”

In-form Sydney eager to add to City’s wounds

Having lost only once since their 3-2 defeat against Melbourne City in late November, the reigning champions are hitting their stride at the perfect time.

With threats all over the pitch needing to be contained, Vidosic is conscious of Sydney’s impressive form ahead of tomorrow’s showdown.

“[They’re] very strong in the transition game, so with Cortnee Vine up front they target her and rightly so.

“In the past, it was something similar where they would allow us possession and wait for us. We just have to be cautious of how we play and not give them those moments for those transitions.

“They’ve got good players all over – young [Madeleine] Caspers [is] playing well, scoring goals, and getting into the box [as well as] Prinny [Princess Ibini] that they’re now utilising up top a little bit as a false nine.

“There’s a bit to look forward to there but we know we can hurt them as well.”

Kick-off commences at 5pm at the City Football Academy, Casey Fields, and will be streamed live on Paramount Plus and 10Play.

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