Around the World of WoSo: W-League Madness and African POY Nominees Announced

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Canberra United beat Melbourne City:

History was made this past weekend in the W-League when Canberra United won 2-1 over Melbourne City. Not only was it United’s first win against City, but it was the first loss in Melbourne’s short existence. In that span of 18 games, they only trailed a total of eight minutes. Talk about a remarkable start for an organization. To put it in another perspective, City’s unbeaten run lasted 419 days.  

All three goals came in the second half, starting with United scoring just a few minutes into the half. Jenna McCormick managed a beautiful header to get past City keeper, Lydia Williams. Less than five minutes later, Bev Yanez equalized with a sweet rocket from distance to grab her first goal down under. The clincher for United came in the 82nd minute by way of teenager Karly Roestbakken, who got on the end of a cross at the back post to put the game away.

The next match for Canberra is versus Brisbane Roar on Saturday, while City looks to rebound later in the day against Western Sydney Wanderers.

African POY Nominees Announced:

The five nominees for African Player of the Year were announced, with no surprises or exclusions. The list is very solid: Asisat Oshoala, Elizabeth Addo, Gabrielle Abdudi, Raissa Feudjio, and Janine Van Wyk. The two players who have the best chance to win, in my opinion, are Oshoala and Van Wyk, who play for Arsenal Ladies and JVW, respectively.

The 22-year-old forward was a huge part of the 2015 World Cup success for Nigeria. They played fast and fun, with Oshoala leading the way. She hassled opposing defenses with her speed, and she scored in the 3-3 draw against Sweden. Oshoala has 17 caps and 11 goals in her short career for Nigeria. The young player already has racked up a handful of hardware, including BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year (2015), African Women’s Footballer of the Year (2014), and the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Golden Ball and Golden Boot in 2014. Oshoala’s aggressive style of play fearless attack is a joy to watch.

Van Wyk has been around a for a bit longer. The 29-year-old has accumulated 130 caps and nine goals as a defender for South Africa. She scored her first goal for Banyana Banyana (The Girls) back in 2005, in her debut against Nigeria. It was a lovely free kick, which won South Africa the African Women’s Championship. Since then, Van Wyk has been a crucial member and leader, becoming the team captain as well. Earlier this year, in March, she became the most capped South African player, male or female, with her 125th appearance.

Victory Sign Veteran Yallop:

The Melbourne Victory have gone out and gotten New Zealand international, Kirsty Yallop. Yallop is a much needed addition to a squad that has struggled so far this season. Victory is currently sitting in last place, even with playmakers such as American midfielder Christine Nairn and English forward Natasha Dowie.  

The veteran and 30-year-old Yallop has played 90 times for her country and tallied 12 goals. The midfielder has represented the Kiwi’s in two Olympics (2008, 2012), and two World Cups (2011, 2015). Yallop has plenty of experience across the globe, having played in New Zealand, the United States, Sweden, and Australia.

Victory drew with the Wanderers over the weekend in a 2-2 contest. They face sixth-place Newcastle Jets on Friday in the seventh round.

Trinidad & Tobago Name New Head Coach:

Replacing Randy Waldrum (NWSL-Houston Dash) for the head coaching position with Trinidad & Tobago is Carolina Morace. She formerly coached Canada (2009-2011), Italy (2000-2005), Viterbese in 1999, and Lazio in 1998. As a player on the Italian National team, she appeared in 150 games, scoring 105 goals from 1978-1997. In 2014, she became the first woman to be inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame.

While at the helm for Italy, the team qualified twice for the Euros. She led Canada to a 2010 CONCACAF Championship and titles in the 2010 and 2011 Cyprus Cup, while going from 11th to 6th in the FIFA World Rankings. She resigned as head coach of Canada in mid 2011, after a disappointing finish at the 2011 Women’s World Cup, because of budget concerns and disputes about the future of the team.

Morace has plenty of young talent to with with in T&T. Their best player is goalkeeper Kimika Forbes. The 26 year-old should be a recognizable name for American fans from Forbes’s memorable performance in February of this year, when she made 10 saves in a 5-0 loss to the United States. Even in defeat, she stood out with her athletic prowess and incredible effort. 

Roestbakken Second Youngest To Score in W-League:

Karly Roestbakken sets her place in W-League history by becoming the second-youngest player to score. She is 15 years, 10 months and 23 days young. The record for youngest player to score is held by Sam Kerr, who was 15 years and two months in 2008. The W-League is known for grooming its young talent into superstars (Kerr, Williams, De Vanna, Gorry, Polkinghorne, Kennedy, Simon, Heyman)—could Roestbakken be next?

Roestbakken suits up for Canberra United, who, as mentioned earlier, beat City for the first time. Her goal will go down as one of the most important goals for United this season, as they could be one of the few challengers for the title race later on.

Gorry in Form for Brisbane:

One of the best players in the league and for the Roar this season has been Australian native, Katrina Gorry. She has been very consistent this campaign, playing in all 6 games and adding three goals. Gorry shares the lead with Jess Fishlock (City), Natasha Dowie (Victory), Sam Kerr (Perth Glory), Jen Hoy (Newcastle Jets), and Adriana Jones (Adelaide United). The Golden Boot race is extremely close and with only a handful of games left, it’s completely up for grabs.

Gorry has been the leader for a team that also boasts such veterans as Claire Polkinghorne, Amy Chapman, and Tameka Butt.  If Gorry can continue her form, I think they could compete down the road for the top three. The Roar currently sits in fifth place, with three wins, one draw, and two losses. They have 10 points and are just two points behind leaders Melbourne City and Sydney FC.