Brisbane Roar 2 bt Canberra United 1
Canberra United's season over
Canberra United player Ellie Brush after the team's loss. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Canberra United coach Elisabeth Migchelsen feels its 2-1 W-League semi-final loss to Brisbane Roar took the gloss off the glory of finishing top of the ladder at the end of the regular season.
But the former Dutch international felt the future was bright if United could hold on to its emerging young players such as defender Catherine Brown, who was a rock in the middle.
United had the bulk of the chances, but a couple of defensive lapses and wasteful finishing proved costly against a Roar side that has qualified for its fifth grand final in six years.
Coming from Europe, where the minor premiership determines the champion, Migchelsen felt the loss left United with nothing for the season despite officially being crowned premier.
United finished on top after the home-and-away season, but was knocked out of the finals race by the fourth-placed Roar.
''If you finish on top of that table then you are the champion, and we don't play play-offs in Europe, that's a bit old-fashioned,'' Migchelsen said.
''In all the matches the best team finished on top, and now we said to each other we have nothing.''
She said the disappointment of losing was too fresh to make a decision about whether she would coach Canberra next season, but she felt the future was bright.
''We have Sally Rojahn, Grace Field, Browny, Meg McLaughlin and Georgia Yeoman-Dale who were all youth players, and if you look at how they developed themselves this season, they are very high potential players if you can keep them here,'' she said.
A four-minute spell proved the difference in the match.
Roar keeper Nadine Angerer denied United striker Michelle Heyman with a brilliant one-on-one save in the 54th minute with the scores locked at one-all.
The ball went up the other end and Roar produced the winner - a speculative shot by captain Elise Kellond-Knight that Canberra goalie Lydia Williams fumbled into the back of the net.
Canberra got off to a terrible start and went behind after just four minutes because of a defensive lapse.
Kellond-Knight sent in a dangerous cross and Brisbane defender Kim Carroll waltzed into the six-yard box to tap it home unmarked.
Constant rain made it tough for both teams, but it didn't stop a hardy 1148 people turning out to watch the tight contest.
At the midpoint of the first half, Lori Lindsey whipped a great corner into the Brisbane box.
Roar's defence failed to clear Ellie Brush's header, and it ballooned nicely for Caitlin Munoz to nod home.
United should have taken the lead early in the second half.
A clinical ball from Lindsey put Heyman clean through on goal with only Angerer to beat. But an extended arm plucked the ball from the Canberra striker's feet as she tried to go round the keeper.
It proved a pivotal moment.
Brisbane will face the winner of Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory, who play on Sunday, in next weekend's grand final.
BRISBANE ROAR 2 (Kim Carroll 4m, Elise Kellond-Knight 58m) bt CANBERRA UNITED 1 (Caitlin Munoz 24) at McKellar Park on Saturday. Crowd: 1148.