Newcomers stun Victory in ALW

November 25, 2022 BY

Powerful: Western United back Sydney Cummings was strong in defence during her club’s inaugural ALW match and win. Photo: ROB PREZIOSO/ AAP IMAGE

WESTERN United have kicked off life in the A-League Women in style, stunning reigning champions Melbourne Victory 1-0 in their first game.

Star American signing Jessica McDonald scored in the 54th minute to seal a historic win over United’s powerhouse rivals in brutal wind at City Vista Recreation Reserve on Saturday.

It was a deserved win for United, who handled the conditions far better than Victory, who had Matildas Alex Chidiac and Elise Kellond-Knight among their starters.

United striker Hannah Keane constantly threatened while Guyana defender Sydney Cummings marshalled their defence with aplomb in front of 2753 fans.

Matildas midfielder Chloe Logarzo came on as a second-half substitute and showed glimpses, including going close with a late free kick.

Victory dominated possession early but struggled to use the heavy wind at their backs.

They should have led in the 16th minute when Chidiac teed up Melina Ayres but the striker swung wildly and blasted her shot over the bar.

A minute later, Ayres lashed a long-range strike over.

From there, United, with their men’s team watching from the front row, dominated the chances.

Victory left-back Natalie Tathem came off in the 32nd minute after hurting her left wrist in a collision with Francesca Iermano.

In the five minutes Tathem was off, United almost scored twice.

In the 34th minute, Keane skimmed a shot just over the bar and seconds later dragged the ball just wide of Casey Dumont’s near post.

United opened the scoring when Adriana Taranto’s free kick was blocked but sister Melissa whipped the ball back into the 18-yard box.

Keane forced a save from Dumont but 2019 Women’s World Cup winner McDonald pounced on the rebound.

Victory should have equalised in the 61st minute when Ayres slipped through Chidiac to send her one-on-one with Hillary Beall.

But the playmaker’s chip drifted wide.

Victory threatened one last time when Beattie Goad beat Cummings in the 83rd minute and found Catherine Zimmerman, but the striker had consecutive shots blocked as United held on for a memorable win.