Around the World of WoSo: W-League Finals; Trio of Canadians Retire

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Perth Glory Takes Care of Business:

All season Perth has been entertaining to watch but they didn’t hold back one bit, putting five past Sydney FC this weekend to advance to the Finals.  Even though Sydney scored first thanks to Kyah Simon, Perth controlled the rest of the game after that. Big time players were making big time plays, including American Vanessa DiBernardo who scored the opening goal on a penalty kick in the 28th minute.

The first half ended in a draw but Perth was out for Glory in the second. DiBernardo was at it again; this time her deflected cross found the back of the net for the lead in the 58th minute. Sydney was having trouble containing DiBernardo and she was running free and managed to complete her hat-trick in the 77th minute. It was a wonderful display of power and precision all afternoon to guide her team to a win. Two more goals were scored by Rosie Sutton and Shawn Billam in the last 15 minutes of play.

Sydney was clearly no match for DiBernardo and company, who will meet Melbourne City in the Grand Final on Sunday in Perth.

Melbourne City Back in Final:

A solid Melbourne defense against a terrific attack in Canberra United – that’s what was in store for fans who were tuned in to watch the second W-League semifinal on Sunday. It was a similar scene for both teams, who competed in last years’ semifinals, with City moving on while Canberra lost to Sydney. Now Melbourne is in the finals for the second time in as many seasons.

It was a match that needed extra time; City got a goal in the 107th minute from the tiny dragon herself, Jess Fishlock. A poor clearance off a corner gave her the golden opportunity and she didn’t waste it – driving it home for the game-winner. Melbourne managed to hold off golden boot winner Ashleigh Sykes and that powerful offense for 122 minutes. It was an impressive feat considering Canberra were held scoreless just one time in the last 12 games by Sydney Wanderers in week 11.

 

NWSL Historic TV deal:

The National Womens Soccer League has reached new heights in 2017. A new deal has been agreed to, but not just any deal; a historic TV one. This is the first multi-year deal for the league, with NWSL partnering with A+E for three years. Other details include creating NWSL Media – which will be a league app for streaming, and a re-designed website with A+E managing all digital assets.

This is a massive upgrade for everyone involved and an encouraging partnership with A+E/Lifetime, who reach 81% of homes in America. There will be a game of the week every Saturday afternoon on Lifetime, as well as playoffs and the championship. That’s 22 games on TV, and for everyone that spent the last 4 years watching their favorite teams on an unreliable YouTube Stream, this is certainly exciting.

Canada (Finally) Celebrates Olympic Bronze:

Back in the summer of 2016, Canada beat Brazil to claim a Bronze medal, becoming the first Canadian summer Olympic team to go back-to-back in over a century. To celebrate they played a friendly against Mexico this past weekend at BC Place in Vancouver, Canada. With 22,508 fans in attendance, both teams put on a show.

Canada struck first in 14th minute when Deanne Rose had the confidence to go at the backline of Mexico, eventually finishing with her left. But just two minutes later Mexico were level, thanks to a neat strike from Nancy Antonio. Young talent Janine Beckie scored the final two goals for Canada just before halftime, giving them a two-goal lead. Mexico would fight back and add another goal in the 59th minute when Kaitlyn Johnson found herself wide open on the back post to tuck it in. That would be all the goals needed to finish this one as Canada gave the fans plenty more to cheer about on the day.

It was a game that was much overdue but I’m glad the players got the chance to celebrate with the fans.

Canadian Trio Retire:

Three players who have helped shape the Canadian program into a top 10 team have announced their International retirements and were honored this past weekend. For more than a decade, Rhian Wilkinson, Melissa Tancredi, and Marie-Eve Nault were tremendous players for Canada, playing in a combined 375 games at the senior level.

Wilkinson played in 180 games, (first appearing in 2003) scoring seven goals as a strong defender. She played in three Pan American games (2003, 2007, 2011), and two Olympic games in 2012 and 2016; capturing Bronze in both.

Melissa Tancredi was known for her physical play and she gave her all in every one of her 124 appearances for her country. She debuted in 2004 against Jamaica during Olympic Qualifying. She was a constant threat up top, scoring 27 goals in her career for Canada. Tancredi played in the Pan American games in 2007 and was part of the 2012/2016 that won Olympic Bronze.

Marie-Eve Nault first appeared in January of 2004 and was a steady defender for Canada. She earned 71 caps and played in some of the biggest games in Canadian history, including the Four Nations Tournament (2004), the 2011 FIFA Womens World Cup, and the 2012 Olympics (Bronze).

Jakobsson Tears ACL:

Sofia Jakobsson suffered one of the worst injuries in sports, tearing her left Anterior Cruciate Ligament – simply referred to as the ACL. The Swedish forward who currently plays for Montpellier in the French Division 1 Feminine was at a training session during the injury on Feb. 1. The 26-year-old has appeared in 61 games for Sweden, scoring 11 goals in that span.

Jakobsson debuted for Sweden in 2011, appearing in the World Cup that summer. She also played in the 2012 London Olympic Games, UEFA Womens EURO in 2013, the 2015 Algarve Cup, and most recently the 2016 Olympic Games, winning the silver. She has become an important piece to Sweden remaining a top 10 team.

No word yet on her timetable to return but typically with this type of injury, athletes are expected to be out minimum six months. With this heartbreaking news, Jakobsson will miss out on EURO 2017 with Sweden.