Road to the Westfield W-League Grand Final: Sydney FC
Sydney FC may be the among the most successful clubs in the Westfield W-League – alongside Melbourne City – but the Sky Blues have never won back-to-back Championships.
They have the opportunity to do just that and become the first team to win the title four times when they battle with City in the 2020 decider on Saturday.
While it’s been a rollercoaster campaign for Ante Juric’s side, they often save their best for the finals, as was evidenced in their backs-to-the-wall Semi Final win over Melbourne Victory.
Despite losing to Victory in Melbourne just a couple of weeks earlier, Veronica Latsko’s early goal was enough for a 1-0 triumph at Epping Stadium.
The Sky Blues are the only club to have made the Finals Series in every season of the Westfield W-League and, this weekend, will be the club’s third straight Grand Final appearance.
Here’s a look back at how Sydney FC got to the final game of the season and some of their best moments of the 2019/20 campaign.
ANNOUNCED: Melbourne City FC to host Sydney FC in the Westfield W-League 2020 Grand Final
GRAND FINAL PREVIEW: Melbourne City v Sydney FC
Story of the season
It was an impressive start to Sydney's Championship defence as they posted three straight wins to open their season in November – including a decisive 3-0 opening day win against defending Premiers, Melbourne Victory.
However, December proved to be their cruelest month as the Sky Blues received a reality check in a 2-1 defeat to Melbourne City and then the harshest of wake-up calls in a 5-0 loss against Western Sydney Wanderers – their first ever Sydney Derby defeat.
However, their response was testament to their character as they won three of their next four games in a series of impressive shut-outs against Adelaide United (2-0), Canberra United (4-0), Brisbane Roar (0-0) and the Wanderers (3-0).
They hit a speed-bump in the final two rounds with defeats to Perth Glory and the Victory, but proved their finals pedigree with their gritty win over Jeff Hopkins’ in-form side last weekend.
Best game – Sydney FC 3-0 Western Sydney Wanderers
The departures of Westfield Matildas duo Caitlin Foord and Chloe Logarzo in January had plenty wondering whether Sydney’s campaign would die on the vine in the closing rounds.
The test of their resolve came in the form of a Wanderers outfit sitting in second position and brimming with the confidence of having dusted their cross-town rivals 5-0 earlier in the season.
What followed was an exceptional response, as the Sky Blues stifled their opponents throughout the 90 minutes in a defend-from-the-front masterclass – especially taking into account Alanna Kennedy was rested for the clash.
American attacker Latsko embraced the increased weight on her shoulders up front with an early opener before Ellie Brush delivered her first goal in Sky Blue against her former club just minutes later.
Newly-signed Canadian, Lindsay Agnew, was also revelation in her debut at full-back, while the always busy Sofia Huerta wrapped up the win with a deserved goal late in the piece.
SEMI FINAL REPORT: Latsko's Semi Final winner keeps Sydney FC's Championship defence alive
SEMI FINAL REACTION: ‘It was all Ally’: Latsko praises delivery for Semi Final winning goal
Best goal – Remy Siemsen v Perth Glory
Having only come away from Adelaide the week prior with the slenderest of wins, the Sky Blues needed a good start in scorching conditions in Perth and got it in just the third minute through leading goalscorer Remy Siemsen.
The build-up was forthright and well-drilled as a series of short passes delivered to ball to Siemsen in space in the box.
However, the finish was even better as the Young Matilda lobbed Glory ‘keeper Eliza Campbell on the angle to set the tone for what ended up a 3-1 win for her side.
The key to Sydney’s passing game has always been in the midfield and the tireless efforts of inspirational skipper Teresa Polias are still the grease that keeps the Sky Blues machine ticking over every week.
Up front, Siemsen continues to build her reputation year-on-year as her precocious talent in the final third delivered seven goals to finish in a four-way tie for the competitions’ Golden Boot.
Defensively, Westfield Matildas star Alanna Kennedy was again a rock in the backline, but it was Ellie Brush, Natalie Tobin and Angelique Hristodoulou who were the unsung heroes alongside her.
Between the sticks, goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe was ever reliable as she posted 51 saves through the campaign, while her compatriots Sofia Huerta and Veronika Latsko went from strength-to-strength as the season progressed.
Westfield W-League 2020 Grand Final
Date: Saturday 21 March 2020
Fixture: Melbourne City FC vs Sydney FC
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off Time: 3:30pm (AEDT)
TV Broadcast: FOX SPORTS 505 from 3:00pm (AEDT), ABC TV from 3:00pm (AEDT), Kayo and the My Football Live App.