Brisbane Roar W-League players Katrina Gorry, Elise Kellond-Knight and Laura Alleway fought gallantly in the Westfield Matildas’ 3-1 loss to USA at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada yesterday with more Brisbane players eyeing game time in Australia’s second match against Nigeria on Saturday morning (kick-off 6.30am AEST).
After Megan Rapinoe opened the scoring for the US in the 12th minute, the Aussies battled back to equalize through co-captain Lisa De Vanna just before half-time. A strong effort and two more goals from Jill Ellis’ team in the second half condemned the Matildas to a 3-1 defeat to open their 2015 World Cup campaign.
Gorry, the reigning AFC Women’s Player of the Year, took up her usual spot as an attacking midfielder alongside Newcastle Jets’ Emily van Egmond while Kellond-Knight, who was named in the FIFA All Stars team at the 2011 FIFA World Cup as a left-back, excelled as a holding midfielder.
Alleway played alongside Melbourne Victory captain Steph Catley in the heart of the Australia defence with Head Coach Alen Stajcic revealing post-match that the Roar defender had injured herself just five minutes into the contest and had bravely continued until she was substituted in the 80th minute.
“I thought Laura Alleway played a fantastic game, she actually hurt her hip in the fifth minute in a challenge with [Abby] Wambach when she crunched to the ground and battled her way through that,” Stajcic said.
“You saw her limping around there for a long time and to have the heart and the spirit to play on for 70 minutes with a corked hip was really brave.”
With a young Nigeria side somewhat surprising the football world with a brave 3-3 draw against fifth-ranked Sweden in Group D’s earlier match, Stajcic could opt to mix things up a bit when his side plays the African Women’s Champions in three days’ time.
“We’ve now got a tough battle now against Nigeria, who I thought were exceptional [against Sweden],” Stajcic said.
“As we know there are no easy games in this group and there’s a long way to go.”
Roar midfielder Tameka Butt is capable of performing on the big stage, as she’s shown in the past by scoring in four of Brisbane’s five Westfield W-League Grand Final appearances. Butt, Hayley Raso and the youngest member of the squad Larissa Crummer were unused substitutes against the US yesterday.
Australia’s final match of the group stage is next Wednesday, 16 June (9am kick-off AEST) against Sweden in Edmonton.