Game 3

Melbourne Victory vs Newcastle Jets

Sixth place vs seventh place. Two teams finding themselves on the outside looking in for the postseason. Melbourne Victory is ahead of Newcastle by four points, and the Victory are only behind fourth place Brisbane by two points. The middle of the league is very tight and has four teams eyeing that elusive fourth place finish. 

There were high hopes for Victory, the defending regular season champions, but they have yet to play a game that has critics agree they are a top four team. Just last week they beat Perth by 2-1, thanks in large part to a penalty save, by their keeper, Casey Dumont. Victory need to get going in a hurry to put themselves in a good position down the stretch.

Not much was expected of Newcastle this season, and they have performed decently well. They are making opposing teams earn every point. Often times watching a game you think Newcastle is going to have the upset, but they just miss out. Newcastle played anything but good last week, besides Claire Coelho who had 15 saves and only gave up two goals. The Jets cannot expect Coehlo to have that gutsy of a performance every week, they need to pick it up to earn results.

Key Matchup

Haley Hanson vs Clare Wheeler

The midfield is where teams win and lose games. The midfield sets the tone for the rest of the team. For Melbourne Victory that player is Haley Hanson and the Jets rely on Clare Wheeler. 

Hanson has played every minute for the Victory so far this season making her the heartbeatof the squad. She is able to convert over 73% of her passes making her a huge asset for possession. Melbourne Victory has to control the midfield if they want to win this game. They have to be able to feed the forwards and assist the defenders. This is not a game where Hanson and company can take a night off. Hanson has to dominate 50/50 balls and have more than her usual 38 passes per game.

The player who will look to disrupt Hanson is Wheeler, a midfielder for the Jets. Last game was a total disaster for the Jets midfielders who spend most of the match acting as defenders. Newcastle only had possession 36% in that game, allowing Brisbane to completely control the tempo. Wheeler will have to assert herself in the midfield and ensure the Jets possess the ball closer to 50%.

Score Prediction

3-1 Melbourne Victory

Melbourne Victory has been searching for a statement game and last week against Perth really looked like their chance to do it, but Perth hung with them. The Victory have to be disappointed with their play and honestly past the feeling of disappointment at this point. The Victory need a big win and they have the tools to do so against a weaker Jets side.