The Western Sydney Wanderers return to action in the Westfield W-League when they take on Adelaide United this afternoon. Here’s the lowdown on Jamie Harnwell’s side.Two of last season’s cellar-dwellers face off in a fight to get season 2015/16 off on the right track at Adelaide Shores Football Centre this Saturday afternoon.
The off-season has seen a huge overturn in staff for the Lady Reds with former Matildas goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri and manager Ross Aloisi headlining a long list of departures.
It leaves a youthful United squad, who made great strides under Aloisi’s stewardship, in a state of flux, with several big name departures like Kristy Moore, Katrine Pederson and Isabel Hodgson underpinned by the exit of some promising young talent like Alexandra Chidiac.
Aloisi’s successor has a big rebuilding job on their hands, but fortunately for Adelaide, they’ve found one of the safest, most reliable pairs of hands in the business in Jamie Harnwell.
Harnwell will look to strengthen his team around two high-quality loan captures from the US in Sarah Killion and Abby Dahlkemper.
Dahlkemper will add some much needed pedigree to the heart of a defence that conceded far too many goals last season. The Western New York Flash loanee and USA U23 international is used to winning championships with the US and is a composed presence on the ball.
The 22-year-old should slot into a flat back four alongside the likes of former Melbourne Victory player Alexandra Gummer, experienced New Zealand international Elizabeth Milne and a selection of promising local youngsters in Lauren Steer and Gaby Bentley.
Harnwell and Adelaide are well-stocked in midfield with a renewed injection of creativity going forward and several new cogs added to the engine room.
Sarah Killion is widely regarded as the state of Indiana’s brightest talents and the former U20’s World Cup winner is a loan signing of real quality for the Lady Reds. The dynamic goal-scoring midfielder is an excellent ball carrier and is normally assured from the penalty spot.
Lorena Maggio returns to the city of churches after a stint in the USA. The terrier-like midfielder, who is also versatile enough to play up front, adds a grittiness to the Reds’ midfield base which is complimented nicely by the youthful verve of Adelaide locals Emily Condon and Georgia Campagnale.
Adelaide lacked cutting edge and end product in the final third of the pitch last season, scoring just nine goals. There’s pressure on the likes of new signing Rosie Sutton, who has previously performed well under Harnwell at Perth, to bring a clinical element to the Reds in front of goal.
Sutton is an experienced and accomplished W-League performer who averaged just about a goal every other game playing for Perth, and she looks like the prime candidate the shoulder the goal scoring responsibility for Adelaide.
You can follow today’s action live on the Wanderers’ Twitter account.