Canberra United slams five past Western Sydney
An inspired performance from Hayley Raso kept Canberra United's finals hopes alive, with a 5-0 drubbing of Western Sydney Wanderers at McKellar Park. Photo: Melissa Adams
Canberra United roared back into the top four and finals contention with a dominant win over the Western Sydney Wanderers at McKellar Park on Tuesday, with striker Michelle Heyman breaking her goal drought in time for the business end of the season.
United still needs to win its final match against the league-leading Brisbane Roar on Saturday morning to be sure of a place in the top four, but the win filled the side with confidence.
The game was supposed to be played last Saturday but was twice delayed for extreme weather before being abandoned at 0-0 after 33 minutes of play due to an electrical storm and rescheduled to Tuesday.
As the Wanderers bussed back to Canberra again, lightning threatened to strike twice, but a forecast storm held off and the teams finally contested the match on schedule.
Hayley Raso took out player of the match honours, the 18-year-old striker looking dangerous every time she went near the ball. Fittingly, it was her boot that knocked in the opening goal after 34 minutes.
''After having that postponed game, I just wanted to get out there, and we needed the win, so I just gave it my best,'' she said, icing her calf after the clash.
But perhaps the most promising element of the match for United was Heyman finally breaking her eight-match goal drought when she guided in a cross from Raso.
''It's always good to get back on the scoreboard, it does bring a lot more confidence to myself and a little bit more in the team,'' she said. ''They've got my back, so it's nice to put one in the back of the net for them.''
The reigning Golden Boot holder scored her second goal of the season just before half time, putting Canberra 2-0 up at the break.
Raso attracted plenty of attention from defenders desperate to stop the speedster, with Servet Uzunlar giving away a free kick for holding back her run on the sideline, which Caitlin Munoz curled into the top of the net to put United up 3-0 in the 74th minute.
An own goal in the 82nd minute from a Munoz corner sealed the match, then Kristen Mewis put the boot in with an 89th-minute strike to take it to 5-0, United's biggest ever win at home.
The ''perfect performance and perfect result'' left coach Jitka Klimkova thrilled as her team finally started converting its chances.
''We played really good football during the season, created many, many chances, just couldn't score the goal. So this time we played really good and I'm happy we scored five goals, so yes it's good timing for us to have these goals in the net.''
United has a quick turnaround before its final regular game on Saturday morning, but Klimkova said playing multiple matches in a week would pay dividends.
''We know that we can play tough games and still work hard,'' she said. ''If you win you can't wait to have the other games, so this is really important for us, this result and this performance for Saturday.''
If Canberra lose to Brisbane, Sydney FC can take their place in the final with a win over Western Sydney.