Willacy impresses again as Adelaide United's rearguard upsets the odds

When Westfield Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic turned up to watch Brisbane Roar host Adelaide United on Sunday, he knew exactly what to expect from Mackenzie Arnold.

What he probably did not expect was to see fellow Australian goalkeeper Sarah Willacy marshal another masterful defensive display from last season’s Westfield W-League bottom side.

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Indeed, the odds were understandably stacked against the visitors as they looked to halt the Premiers, who had added Japanese star Yuki Nagasato to their already impressive attacking options.

Roar were showing no signs of complacency in their title defence and, with four points from their opening two games, were looking to return to their familiar spot at the top of the table with a Round 3 win.

However, just like current leaders Melbourne Victory, they found Adelaide a tougher nut to crack than last season.

Remarkably, Willacy has faced 41 shots in total without conceding, making eight saves to maintain her perfect start.

With three weeks between Adelaide’s first game and Sunday’s win, captain and defender Emma Checker had suggested that the additional time off had served as “an extra two weeks of pre-season”.

Her side have clearly used that time wisely as they looked organised and composed throughout Brisbane’s series of onslaughts.

It was also a superb team effort which brought about their goal and, if they can continue to operate as such an effective unit, they might just be worth considering as this season’s dark horses for glory.