Westfield W-League Round 4 recap: Sam Kerr returns and Sydney FC gets their first win

The Australian women's professional league played its fourth weekend of soccer and is nearly one third of the way through the season. Perth and Brisbane pulled away from the pack and Rachel Hill maintained her league lead in goals.

Westfield W-League Round 4 recap: Sam Kerr returns and Sydney FC gets their first win
Rachel Hill (far left) and Sam Kerr (second left) celebrate after a goal from Kerr gives Perth a 2-1 lead over Melbourne Victory | Photo: Will Russell - Getty Images

Another great weekend of soccer took place across the Australian continent in the Westfield W-League. Two of the four games were decided by goals in the last five minutes of the match, and National Women's Soccer League 2017 Most Valuable Player and Golden Boot winner Sam Kerr scored a brace to help Perth Glory secure a win. This was the first weekend of the season where players from abroad, specifically from the United States, did not dominate the scoring. One American did score, though, and that was forward Rachel Hill who plays for Orlando Pride in the NWSL. Hill maintained her league lead in goals scored as she increased her total to six by putting one into the back of the net on Sunday.

Brisbane roars to victory over Adelaide

The Brisbane Roar won a thrilling game at home against Adelaide United as forward Hayley Raso scored a goal in the 86th minute to cement the 1-0 victory. The game generally lacked offensive power throughout the first half. Brisbane goalkeeper Makenzie Arnold made a great diving save in the first half as she deflected a ball away from goal and off the post, but otherwise there was little of note in the first half. The second half was all Brisbane as they peppered the Adelaide goal and forced goalkeeper Eliza Campbell and the United defense scramble. The defense finally broke when midfielder Abbey Lloyd, a substitute that had just come on in the 82nd minute, used her fresh legs to streak down the right sideline. She played a low cross into the box, one Brisbane attacker dummied and the ball found the feet of Hayey Raso at about 15 yards from goal. She cleanly played the ball back across the body of the keeper into the bottom right corner of the net. That goal in the 86th minute was one of 12 shots from Brisbane while Adelaide had just four. Adelaide forward Makenzy Doniak (North Carolina Courage) could not keep her scoring streak going as she was held without a goal for the first time this season. Hayley Raso blew up for her NWSL team in 2017, scoring six goals and appearing in 22 games for Portland Thorns FC. The speedy Australian forward helped the Portland Thorns defeat the North Carolina Courage in the 2017 NWSL Championship Game. This was Raso's first goal of the 2017/18 W-League season.

The victory lifts the Roar into second place at 3-0-1 in a tie with the Perth Glory. The loss drops Adelaide to 1-0-2. Brisbane will have a bye week next weekend while Adelaide will host the Newcastle Jets Women.

Sydney FC stuns Melbourne City for their first win

Larissa Crummer is lifted by her Melbourne City teammates after giving her team a 2-1 lead. They would go on to lose 3-2. | Photo: Jason McCawley - Getty Images
Larissa Crummer is lifted by her Melbourne City teammates after giving her team a 2-1 lead over Sydney FC. They would go on to lose 3-2. | Photo: Jason McCawley - Getty Images

Sydney FC, an early favorite to compete for the championship, earned their first victory on Saturday when Remy Seimsen scored in the 91st minute to take a 3-2 lead for her team. The scoring started just before half-time when Sydney defender Emily Ralston scored an own goal in the first minute of stoppage time to give Melbourne City FC a 1-0 lead. Sydney rallied behind their distraught teammate and scored a goal of their own when midfielder Kylie Ledbrook put a shot from the corner of the box into the net. Melbourne regained the lead when forward Larissa Crummer scored from the center of the box off an assist from Rhali Dobson. Teresa Polias would bring the game level at two apiece in the 64th minute. The final goal of the game was scored by 61st-minute substitute Remy Seimsen with the assist going to Princess Ibini

The victory brings Sydney to 1-0-3 on the season while Melbourne City falls to 2-0-2. Both teams will be on bye next weekend. 

Canberra wins their 14th-straight against Newcastle

Canberra United has the number of the Newcastle Jets. The 2-1 victory on Sunday marked the 14th consecutive victory that United has tallied against the Jets. The home side was hoping that their fortunes would change when Newcastle midfielder Emily van Egmond finished a penalty in the eighth minute of play. The Jets would bring the 1-0 lead into the second half, but Canberra midfielder Ashleigh Sykes would equalize the score with a shot to the bottom right corner of the net. Skykes plays for the Portland Thorns in the NWSL, appearing in 15 games and scoring once for the team. The final goal of the matcCh would come in the 63rd minute when Toni Pressley redirected the ball into the net to give Canberra a lead that they would never relinquish. The United defender has played for the Washington Spirit, Houston Dash, Western New York Flash, and now plays for the Orlando Pride in the NWSL. Her 32 games over two seasons with the Pride are her longest for any NWSL team, and she scored her first NWSL goal for the Pride in 2017. 

The win helps Canberra improve to 2-0-1, and the loss sinks Newcastle to 2-0-2. Canberra will host the league-leading Perth Glory next weekend while Newcastle will travel to Adelaide. 

Kerr scores a brace to lift Perth over Victory

Forward Rachel Hill is lifted by forward Samantha Kerr after scoring the first goal of the match for her squad (Perth Glory) | Photo: Will Russell - Getty Images
Forward Rachel Hill is lifted by forward Samantha Kerr after scoring the first goal of the match for her squad (Perth Glory) | Photo: Will Russell - Getty Images

Samantha Kerr, who was just nominated for another award, has gotten quite good at soccer. The 24-year-old forward put on a show Sunday to give the Perth Glory their third win of the season and a position at the top of the W-League ladder. Kerr now has four goals in three games played and her team has won each game she has been available for. Glory saw their first good attempts on goal in the 25th minute when a Rachel Hill (Orlando Pride) shot was blocked by Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Casey Dumont. The ball bounced out to Raquel Rodriguez (Sky Blue FC) but her shot was blocked by a Melbourne defender and a third shot was skyed over the crossbar. The Victory had a good chance in the 39th minute when Kyra Cooney-Cross placed a ball at the bottom left corner of goal, but the shot was knocked away by Perth goalkeeper Melissa Maizels. The half ended at 0-0 despite both teams generating good attempts.

The second half started with Melbourne taking the lead just seven minutes after the whistle when Natasha Dowie (Boston Breakers) headed the ball in off a gorgeous cross from Melina Ayres. The 1-0 lead would last only two minutes, with Rachel Hill taking a headed pass from Kerr, dribbling past the keeper and then powering the ball into the net. Hill leads the league in goals with six on the season. Kerr would score a goal of her own in the 64th minute when she dribbled the ball around Dumont and hit the back of an open net. The final goal of the game would come when Kerr stole a bouncing ball from the Victory defense and exploded toward the keeper. As soon as Dumont left her line, Kerr slid the ball on the ground to the opposite corner of goal. Dowie nearly earned her second goal of the match four minutes into stoppage time when she collected the ball away from defenders at the top of the box, but her shot was parried over the bar by Maizels. 

Perth now leads the league at 3-0-1 while the Victory sits at 1-0-2. The Glory will travel to Canberra next weekend, and the Victory will host the Western Sydney Wanderers who are on bye this weekend.