United ready to mix it
Canberra's Caitlin Munoz is confident her side can deliver against league leaders Brisbane on Saturday. Photo: Stefan Postles
Canberra United midfielder Caitlin Munoz says the defending champion is thriving on the pressure before its must-win match against Brisbane Roar in Brisbane on Saturday.
Only three points can guarantee United a W-League finals berth to keep its title defence alive, although it will also go through to the play-offs if Western Sydney Wanderers beat Sydney FC.
United goes into the final round of the season on the back of a 5-0 thumping of the Wanderers on Tuesday, which Munoz said had given the squad confidence it was in form at the right time.
''We had a really good game against Western Sydney,'' she said. ''I know we won five-nil, but we played some really good football, which is what we want to do, and we created a lot of chances and finished a lot as well, so that's a bonus for us going into this game.
''It's the last game of the season, everyone wants to win, we play every game the same as if we were on top of the ladder or down the bottom.''
Adding fuel to what Munoz expects will be a fiery affair, the table-topping Roar will be looking for revenge for last season's 3-2 grand final loss at the hands of Canberra. And what sweeter way than to end the reigning champion's season?
Munoz said both teams had plenty of motivation. She was expecting a physical clash against the side that has made the grand final every year since the W-League's inception.
''Of course [the Roar wants to knock us out], I think every team wants to not see us there, but we're ready for the game. They're always a hard team, probably the hardest team every year. But we've shown that we can match it against the top teams that have been consistently good over the five seasons. I think they're going to be worried about us as well.''
Canberra golden boot winner Michelle Heyman scored two goals, including the winner, in last year's grand final and was named player of the match. She broke an eight-game drought in United's thrashing of the Wanderers on Tuesday. Her goal was just the second of the season, a far cry from the 15 she scored to win the golden boot.
Munoz is Canberra's equal-leading scorer with four and the club has preferred to share the scoring load this season. She said the fact the team was not relying solely on Heyman's boot was a positive, but admitted a firing Heyman was crucial if it was to progress to the finals.
''She had a bit of an injury at the beginning of the season, but she's come good now and teams need to watch out for her,'' Munoz said. ''They might think she's been quiet all year but she'll probably step it up when it's needed.''
While Heyman's radar has been off this season, Roar midfielder Tameka Butt is in red-hot form. She scored both of Brisbane's goals against Sydney FC last round for five for the season.
W-League: Canberra United v Brisbane Roar, at Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre, 11.30am.