United Aim For Victory In Melbourne

League leaders Melbourne Victory supply the opposition for Canberra United’s Round 8 Westfield W-League clash this weekend.

League leaders Melbourne Victory supply the opposition for Canberra United-s Round 8 Westfield W-League clash this weekend and it-s a formidable looking opponent that will line-up opposite the team in green at the Lakeside Stadium just outside the city centre. Traditionally, Canberra do not enjoy their Victorian forays and, having been surprisingly upset 2-0 on their last trip interstate with Adelaide United downing Elisabeth Migchelsen-s troops, this is another testing assignment.

There-s has been plenty of soul-searching in the national capital this week after the maiden loss to the Lady Reds with Migchelsen bemoaning a lack of aggression in her squad during the loss in South Australia. Canberra, as has been the norm this season, enjoyed plenty of possession and territory but is still looking for the type of clinical ruthlessness that has been in evidence in spades at Sydney FC.

There is no doubt the quality is there in the United squad to achieve this, it-s unlocking the mechanism to make it happen that has, thus far, proved elusive. Defensively, the Adelaide blip aside, it-s been fairly tight at the back as Canberra have proved a tough nut to crack and with the Victory also defensively sound this match, as is the norm, is likely to be a hard-fought midfield battle with little to choose between the rosters.

As such the duel between Lori Lindsey and her Victory opposite number, Welsh international Jess Fishlock, is sure to have a huge bearing on the final outcome. Fishlock, it-s probably fair to say, is the player that makes Melbourne tick. Her dynamism, both on and off the ball, tenacity and eye for goal has marked the terrier-like midfielder as a star of the competition. With Fishlock holding firm Caitlin Friend has been able to wreak havoc in the final third with a league leading six goals to her name.

And Friend isn-t the only threat up top. The ubiquitous Lisa De Vanna is a maverick in the striking role with her pace a lethal asset that Victory looks to exploit as often as possible. Keeping tabs on the Matilda-s superstar, a task much easier said than done, must be high on the list of priorities for United-s chosen centre-back pairing with the full-backs also needing to be aware of balls played in the channels between them and their central partners.

The Victory in Melbourne has been one of United-s least favourite fixtures over the years with five visits to Victoria yielding a measly four points. However, as far as omen-s go, when United gain something from a trip to Melbourne they make the Grand Final - the inaugural win in 2008 precipitating a showdown with the Roar followed by a vital point in a 1-1 draw in the club-s championship year when they again met Brisbane in the Final.

There-s still plenty of football to be played before the make-up of the top four, and thus the semi-finalists, will be decided however, but Migchelsen will be well aware of the tough and taxing schedule that awaits the team over the next month. A tangible reward from this fixture could go a long way to making 2014 a memorable year for those of a Canberra United persuasion.

CANBERRA UNITED SQUAD 1. Lydia WILLIAMS, 2. Catherine BROWN, 3. Georgia YEOMAN-DALE, 4. Kendall FLETCHER, 5. Grace FIELD, 6. Caitlin MUNOZ, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 8. Meg McLAUGHLIN, 9. Grace GILL, 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 12. Sally ROJAHN, 13. Nicole SYKES, 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 16. Lori LINDSEY, 17. Holly HOUSTON, 19. Jennifer BISSET, 20. Trudy BURKE, 22. Stephanie OCHS

LAST TIME OUT Saturday 15th December 2012 Canberra United 1 (Jennifer Bisset 50-) Melbourne Victory 2 (Amy Jackson 31-, Jessica Fishlock 94-)

COMPLETE RECORD 15/11/08: Melbourne Victory 0 Canberra United 1 20/12/08: Canberra United 3 Melbourne Victory 2 24/10/09: Canberra United 2 Melbourne Victory 0 28/11/09: Melbourne Victory 1 Canberra United 0 20/11/10: Canberra United 1 Melbourne Victory 1 08/01/11: Melbourne Victory 1 Canberra United 0 12/11/11: Canberra United 2 Melbourne Victory 1 30/12/11: Melbourne Victory 1 Canberra United 1 22/01/12: Semi-Final - Canberra United 1 Melbourne Victory 0 17/11/12: Melbourne Victory 3 Canberra United 0 15/12/12: Canberra United 1 Melbourne Victory 2

OVERALL: Played 11, Won 5, Drawn 2, Lost 4 HOME: Played 6, Won 4, Drawn 1, Lost 1 AWAY: Played 5, Won 1, Drawn 1, Lost 3