Understrength Phoenix tumble to 3-0 loss against women’s A-League leaders

posted in: A-League (Women), News

An under-strength Wellington Phoenix — missing nine frontline players due to international commitments and injuries — have been beaten 3-0 by Western United in the women’s A-League.

Matilda Chloe Logarzo gave Western the halftime lead at City Vista Recreation Reserve in Melbourne, and the hosts sealed the win with a further two goals in a six-minute second half spell.

“It’s obviously disappointing,” Phoenix head coach Paul Temple said after his side’s heaviest defeat of the season.

“I thought the team did a pretty good job overall. Our gameplan was sound, we were tactically good, we just lost some big moments.

“In the end, that lack of experience cost us a little bit. It is a real shame because I thought the girls gave a really good account of themselves [and] played some good stuff at times.

“We had five New Zealand under-20s take the pitch today which I think for the future is amazing for the club and New Zealand Football.

“It’s about trying to take some of those positives I think. It’s always never nice to lose and it’s not a feeling we’re getting used to. It hurts just as bad.”

The Nix remain ninth on the A-League ladder and are now four points outside the top six, but Temple believes his side can still qualify for the finals.

“Because I still honestly don’t think we’ve been totally outplayed in any game this season.

“I don’t think we were totally outplayed today, we just we didn’t win the moments.

“I do believe we can still make the play-offs, for sure. We’re making it hard because we’re probably going to have to win five or six … games to get in, but we can do it.

“We’ve got the players and we just need to turn the corner on the road in a few weeks’ time. If we can pick up some wins at Victory and Perth we give ourselves a good chance with a number of home games in the run-in.”

Paul Temple … ‘I believe we can still make the play-offs.’

Seven changes to starting line-up

Paul Temple made seven changes to the XI which started the round 15 defeat to Newcastle Jets, with Rylee Foster, Alyssa Whinham, Hope Breslin, Michaela Robertson, Emma Main, Daisy Brazendale, Rebecca Lake coming into the side to replace Football Ferns Michaela Foster, Kate Taylor, Mackenzie Barry and Brianna Edwards, and injured trio of Macey Fraser, Annalie Longo and Mariana Speckmaier.

Lake captained the new-look Nix in Longo’s absence and they gave a good account of themselves from the opening whistle.

Western had the first few goalscoring opportunities but none of them tested Foster in Wellington’s goal.

Main had the Phoenix’s first chance, forcing Hillary Beall to make a sharp save in the 23rd minute after shooting from a tight angle on the right side of the box.

Logarzo, Western’s captain, opened the scoring six minutes later, reacting quickly to head home a rebound after her teammate Hannah Keane had rattled the crossbar with a powerful shot.

Apart from a long-range effort from Jaclyn Sawicki, Wellington’s goal wasn’t threatened again in the first half.

The Nix made a bright start to the second half, with Main again calling Beall into action to save a shot from the right side of Western’s box.

The Phoenix defence, marshalled well by the fit-again Lake, blocked the hosts’ next three chances before Keane looped a shot onto the Wellington crossbar in the 58th minute.

Foster wasn’t called into action until the 71st minute when she made a top drawer save to deny Logarzo her second.

Unfortunately, the Nix were unable to deal with the resulting set piece, with Grace Maher scoring directly from her right-wing corner.

Foster made another sharp save in the 76th minute to deny Keane but the American wasn’t to be denied moments later when she volleyed home a right wing cross at the near post.

Western had a few more opportunities but were unable to add a fourth goal.

However, the three points were enough to lift Western United to the top of the A-League ladder.

The Wellington Phoenix have a fortnight to prepare for their next match against Melbourne Victory with the A-League breaking for the FIFA international window.

Match highlights


Game played on Sunday February 18, 2024

Western United 3 (Chloe Logarzo 29′, Grace Maher 72′, Hannah Keane 78′)
Wellington Phoenix 0


Table at 9pm (NZT) on Sunday February 18.


Western United

1. Hillary BEALL (gk), 2. Stacey PAPADOPOULOS, 4. Jaclyn SAWICKI, 6. Chloe LOGARZO (c) (13. Avaani PRAKASH 83rd), 9. Hannah KEANE, 15. Adriana TARANTO, 16. Melissa TARANTO, 18. Grace MAHER, 19. Tyla Jay VLAJNIC (10. Kahli JOHNSON 61st), 20. Keiwa HIEDA (5. Aimee MEDWIN 72nd), 22. Alana CERNE.

Unused substitutes: 1. Alyssa DALL’OSTE (gk), 14. Natasha DAKIC.

Wellington Phoenix

1. Rylee FOSTER (gk), 2. Zoe MCMEEKEN, 7. Isabel COX, 10. Alyssa WHINHAM, 11. Hope BRESLIN, 14. Michaela ROBERTSON (21. Manaia ELLIOTT 62nd), 165. Daisy BRAZENDALE (27. Helena ERRINGTON 69th), 18. Hailey DAVIDSON, 20. Emma MAIN (9. Kelli BROWN 62nd), 23. Rebecca LAKE (c) (Ella MCMILLAN 73rd), 26. Tiana JABER.

Unused substitutes: 22. Aimee DANIELI (gk).


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