Canberra United Head Coach Ray Junna is predicting a tough test for his charges ahead of Saturday’s Week Three clash in the Westfield W-League as United faces Melbourne Victory at McKellar Park.
Canberra United Head Coach Ray Junna is predicting a tough test for his charges ahead of Saturday-s Week Three clash in the Westfield W-League as United faces Melbourne Victory at McKellar Park.
After taking four points from their opening two matches of the season United face a second successive home game and will be backed to see off the challenge of a Melbourne side that started their own campaign with a 1-4 home defeat to title favourites Sydney FC.
“The Victory are a dogged side and they will be looking to bounce back from the loss they sustained on the first weekend,” Junna said. “They-ll come out here and run at us and we-re not expecting an easy game by any means!”
“They have a couple of internationals in their team to look out for. We tried to sign one of those internationals actually in USA midfielder Kendall Fletcher. She-ll definitely be a handful. They also have a striker from England (Jodie Taylor) so they-ll be keen to get some points on the board and we know it will be a tough game.”
The visit of Victory to Canberra also sees the return of utility player Snez Veljanovska who, in two seasons with United, made nine appearances, eight off the bench. Veljanovska left Canberra in pre-season after Junna couldn-t guarantee the fleet-footed midfielder a regular start in the team.
“Snez is a good player,” Junna commented. “She-ll obviously be out to prove a point to me! I-m certain she-ll put in a fairly good performance on the weekend.”
Looking back on the 1-1 draw against Brisbane Roar on Saturday the United head man was philosophical about a point gained rather than perhaps two points lost.
“It was a good result given the context of the opposition,” he said. “Brisbane Roar has played in the last two Grand Finals and we haven-t had many results against them over the years, just the one win in six encounters so we-ll take the point.”
“It was a pretty stale sort of match with both teams playing a tight marking game and neither team was prepared to take the game to the oppositions and commit people. It looked like the players were almost happy to take a point each! Towards the end we played a bit better and decided to push forward a little more and I-ll take the point at this stage of the season.”
After a drab opening half when United-s passing game let them down a little, the tempo was definitely raised after the break with Canberra dominating possession and a little unfortunate not to gain all three points.
“It was pleasing in the last quarter when we pushed forward a little bit and were prepared to have a go, playing better football, rather than just playing long balls into their last third which were a bit meaningless and aimless at times. I think the players were a little bit wary, knowing that a point is a decent return against Brisbane,” Junna continued.
“We can-t be too harsh though. We-re two games into the season and the team cohesion isn-t quite there yet with our internationals coming back and we-re just trying to get that coordination more fine-tuned and that might take a little more time. But we-re happy with the two results so far.”
CUFC sqaud to play Melbouren Victory: 1. Lydia Williams (gk), 2. Caitlin Cooper, 3. Lyndsay Glohe, 4. Michelle Heyman, 5. Kahlia Hogg, 6. Caitlin Munoz, 7. Ellie Brush, 8. Tseng Shu-O, 9. Grace Gill, 10. Emily Van Egmond, 11. Cian Maciejewski, 14. Ashleigh Sykes, 15. Sally Shipard, 16. Ellyse Perry, 19. Jennifer Bisset, 20. Jocelyn Mara (gk)
*one to be omitted
Unavailable: 13. Nicole Sykes (injured), 18. Leah Blayney (overseas)
United plays Melbourne Victory at McKellar Park on Saturday 20th November with kick off at 3pm. Tickets are available from the ticket box at the stadium on match day. Gates open at 2pm.