Caitlin Munoz got on the scoreboard as Canberra produced a strong second half (Credit: Joseph Mayers Photography)

Three goals from Canberra United saw the reigning W-League Champions through with a dominant 3-0 win over Sydney FC.

With the past three W-League Champions suffering losses in the first round of Season 8, no doubt there were a few anxious fans leading into last week.  In Round 2 a number of those questions were answered for Canberra United, while a couple more arose for Sydney FC

It was the same scoreline as the last time Sydney FC came to Canberra, but with vastly different lineups and goalscorers.  Nicole Begg opened the account early, with a shot from range deflected in. Veronica Perez announced her arrival in the nation’s capital with a beautiful goal scored off her own volley in the second half.  Caitlin Munoz made it three with twenty minutes to go, converting on a Julia De Angelis cross.

Canberra United – Key Points and Players

United fielded a drastically different lineup to their loss against Brisbane, with both Matildas duty and new arrivals forcing changes. As the plan for the season is starting to take shape, there were positive signs, along with some teething issues for the 2014 champions.

Particularly noticeable in the first half were a few communication issues in the United backline.

Melissa Maizels in her second start for the side should be happy with her first clean sheet and winning appearance, as it was hard earned. With this flood of new players, Lydia Williams’ leadership and voice will no doubt be welcomed back on her return from national squad duty, particularly as she has playing history with both Brush and Checker.

Veronica Perez clearly relished her first W-League appearance.  After but a few training sessions in Canberra she was thrust into the midfield and performed well.

In press after the game she was also looking to improve, starting to get used to the player’s movements and knowing their tendencies, and how we play.” Scoring on debut she also almost made it two off a set piece she’d only practiced the day before.

Emma Kete also performed in her first appearance on return for Canberra, linking up with Ash Sykes and Caitlin Munoz in ways which no doubt have Michelle Heyman eager to rejoin the squad.  Emma Checker on the other end was full of pace, even after a knock to the head early on.

Canberra United coach Rae Dower was pleased with the result, and excited about the season as the complete squad starts training.  Happy to move on from “a couple of errors, our poor performance on the day” the week before against Brisbane, she outlined finishing and cohesion as areas to work on moving forward.

Sydney FC – Key Points and Players

The first half saw Sydney and Canberra fairly evenly matched, both teams pressing early, and getting shots away.

Sydney will be pleased to see Jasmyne Spencer has returned from New York hungry for goals.  She managed a few shots, and will be hoping to build on that with more support. Trudy Camilleri, in first half added time, also had an excellent shot, forcing a great save from Maizels to preserve the lead. Camilleri continued to be lively for Sydney up front and her combination with Spencer caused problems without showing on the scoreboard.

Michelle Betos, in her second start since arriving from the US again had her work cut out for her, especially in the second half as frustration set in for Sydney, and Canberra found a more comfortable rhythm.  She was again impressive, winning praise from Rae Dower, who credited her for keeping the score to three.

Princess Ibini came off the bench to play her first W-League minutes for Sydney FC.  It almost seemed overdue, but very exciting to see a player come in with such an impressive youth international and NSW Premier League resume. It’s sure to be great viewing as she finds her feet along with some of her Young Matildas teammates in the Sydney squad this season.

A big issue for Sydney in the opening rounds, perhaps made more glaring by the contrast with Canberra on Saturday, is in their midfield.

A lot of the play was end to end, but without that link, Sydney was dominated on the counter.  No doubt they will be looking forward to their Matildas returning, and a chance to reset in Parramatta, after starting a season with two losses for the first time.

Up next?

Sydney FC go west to take on Wanderers in this season's first Sydney Derby, with both teams chasing their first win for the season.

United have an extra week with the bye now to work on that cohesion with their full squad before heading north to Central Coast Stadium to meet Melbourne City - who have started unbeaten after two rounds in the W-League.

Canberra United 3 (Nicole Begg 8’, Veronica Perez 58’, Caitlin Munoz 68’)

Sydney FC 0

Saturday 24 October 2015

McKellar Park, Canberra

Kick-off: 4pm

Referee: Rachel Mitchenson

Canberra United: Melissa Maizels (gk), Julia De Angelis (Rebecca Kiting 84’), Kendall Fletcher, Jenna McCormick, Caitlin Munoz (Tegan Riding 75’), Ellie Brush, Emma Kete (Meg McLaughlin 64’), Nicole Begg, Ashleigh Sykes, Emma Checker, Veronica Perez

Substitutes – Georgia Baric (gk)

Cautions - none

Sydney FC: Michelle Betos (gk), Liz Ralston, Ellyse Perry, Sunny Franco (Lyndsay Kohlet 84’), Jasmyne Spencer, Teresa Polias (c), Nicola Bolger, Trudy Camilleri (Princess Ibini-Isei 66’), Renee Rollason, Teigen Allen, Leena Khamis (Natalie Tobin 76’)

Substitutes – Sham Khamis (gk)

Cautions – Leena Khamis 47’, Sunny Franco 71’