First thing’s first – does Emily Menges actually wear shin pads?
Genuinely. Go look at a picture. I’m so confused. Her socks are so low? There doesn’t seem to be any shin pads under there? Surely twitter has an answer for this, but it was very disconcerting to watch live.
When it comes to the actual game, it was everything that I hate and begrudgingly respect about Melbourne City.
City deserved their win. They came with a clear plan, the same as they’ve had all season, and executed it reasonably well. Everything starts with their centre backs, out to their wing back dynamic duo of Catley and Carpenter, and then in through the middle. They dominated possession, shots and chances.
Victory looked to blunt them by being super compact in defence and waiting for their opportunity on the break. Casey Dumont kept yelling ‘left shoulder!’ to her centre backs, which probably means something tactically. Jenna is a wall (obviously). They mostly succeeded, until… ugh. You know.
The first 20 minutes of the game were relatively tame. It was cold (Melbourne…), and maybe the players were responding to that by taking a while to warm up. Casey Dumont was sparking a cap because she is the greatest goalkeeper of all time. Once she got to a point where, in one movement, she ripped her cap off and threw it dramatically onto the ground, we knew it was game on.
Suddenly, City started to up their game. Emslie had a one on one chance that she really should have at least hit the target with. Dumont had to make a good save, in close, to a very-good-and-graceful-and-should-always-be-a-number-10 Emily Van Egmond.
It looked like Victory had been breached when there was a handball in the box that gave City a penalty midway through the first half. However, there were three factors in this penalty that need to be considered:
- A Matilda, EVE, was taking it. Dangerous.
- Casey Dumont, cap or no cap, is an absolute gem.
- I was behind the goal and heckling City. I don’t think that made a difference, but I’m going to pretend that it did.
So, of course, it was saved, and we went into halftime deadlocked at nil-all.
The second half grew in intensity as it went on. The number one reason that City games get me excited is Lydia Williams screaming at her defenders from goal, and she did not disappoint. (Melissa Hudson (Barbieri) was getting in on the action from the sidelines too – must be a goalkeeper thing). Both teams started to get a bit more desperate and City started to push higher and higher. Jenna was telling her teammates to look for the goal, but really, it was looking like it would be a good result for Victory if they managed to hold on.
Alas… they could not.
After a lovely flowing play on the left side of the field, the ball was cut back to Kinga. This was the most ideal situation for her team – you want the ball at the feet of the most composed person on the field for a goal chance in the 90th minute. She smashed it home, because it’s City, and they saw out the last 2 minutes without any fuss, because it’s City.
I know I’ve said this a lot, but… ugh.
They have so many gears. They control games for long periods with possession, without necessarily being able to create many chances. However, this season, with a few exceptions, they seem to be creating just enough. When they need to raise their game, they can, and it’s paying dividends.
Victory will win plenty of games this season but they need to find more creative outlets. Dowie FC is still in full force but she barely touched the ball. Grace Maher was the chief creator as far as I could tell and it just wasn’t enough – they didn’t look like scoring. If you don’t score, you can’t win, you know?
While we were not graced with a Christine Nairn olympico this year it was a fun night with a lot of dramatic tension.
Just… ugh. City.
By Taryn Heddo