An early season test of credentials. That was what an away trip to Brisbane Roar was all about in the early years of the Liberty A-League and, after the Queenslanders began their 2022/23 season with a win, it can be argued that it’s still the case today.
The Roar edged Newcastle Jets on the opening day of the season, a 2-1 home win placing them second on the table after Round 1, with Canberra heading to Perry Park hoping to come away with the maximum return following their home draw against Perth Glory to start the new campaign.
United created plenty of openings against the Glory at McKellar Park, the 1,263 crowd in attendance rising to acclaim some excellent football from Njegosh Popovich’s new-look Canberra outfit and to celebrate in unison, bar a handful clad in purple, debut goals from Grace Jale and Vesna Milivojevic.
The Kiwi international, and her Serbian international teammate, looked lively in midfield for the home side, adding punchy weight to the Canberra attacking force led by Michelle Heyman and Nickoletta Flannery.
The duo were two of six debutants for Canberra in the season-opener, Canadian centre-back Kennedy Faulknor, fellow central pillar Madison McComasky and Chinese international attacker Wu Chengshu all starting for Popovich’s first selection of the Liberty A-League year.
That quintet were added to by the second-half introduction of striker Sofia Christopherson, the Canberra United graduate becoming the 130th player to play for the club since its formation in 2008 when she replaced Milivojevic in the 79th minute of the tussle.
At the other end of the park, United were indebted to goalkeeper Chloe Lincoln who made two superb saves and was solid when called upon, the Young Matildas international helpless with the brace of goals that the Glory scored to equalise twice, the visitors clawing themselves back into contention after trailing.
Last season United and Roar shared a pair of exhilarating 3-3 draws, satisfactory results against a formidable opponent, but will have their eyes firmly set on going one better and claiming all three this time around.
The match from Perry Park, Brisbane will be screened live on 10Play and will be featured as part of the new ‘Dub Zone’ from the same time on Saturday afternoon.
Canberra United’s next home match is on Saturday 10 December when Wellington Phoenix provide the opposition at McKellar Park with kick-0ff at 3pm. Tickets for that fixture are on sale here.
Canberra United squad: 1. Keeley RICHARDS (GK), 2. Emily ROACH, 3. Grace TARANTO, 4. Holly MURRAY, 5. Emma ILIJOSKI, 6. Laura HUGHES, 8. Sasha GROVE, 9. Chengshu WU, 10. Grace MAHER, 11. Grace JALE, 13. Sophia CHRISTOPHERSON, 15. Madison MCCOMASKY, 16. Kennedy FAULKNOR, 17. Vesna MILIVOJEVIC, 18. Chloe LINCOLN, 19. Nicki FLANNERY, 23. Michelle HEYMAN, 24. Ellen GETT