Canberra United's 18-match undefeated run continues after Caitlin Munoz scored a second-half free kick to earn a draw with the Western Sydney Wanderers at Campbelltown Stadium on Sunday.
The draw maintains a promising start for the new side after its first win against Perth last week. For United, the point came at a cost, with Ashleigh Sykes tearing a quad muscle, and captain Ellie Brush receiving a red card.
It took United until the 74th minute to find the back of the net, with the defending champion still yet to score in the opening 70 minutes of a game this season. It has left coach Jitka Klimkova scratching her head for a reason why.
The fact her team keeps squandering chances isn't helping, with United missing three opportunities in the opening minute. A low cross from Sykes set up Georgia Yeoman-Dale, but with the whole goal to aim at, Yeoman-Dale found Wanderers' keeper Elizabeth Durack, who couldn't hold it.
Yeoman-Dale hit the bar with the rebound, and Michelle Heyman followed up with a diving header which was pushed wide by Durack.
The significance of the missed opportunities was not lost on Klimkova.
''We would have calmed down and played our game, but we didn't and the opponents scored,'' she said.
''It's always hard to come back against an opponent.''
The Wanderers scored in the 23rd minute through Teigen Allen, as Western Sydney dominated the midfield thanks to Swedish international Louise Fors.
Allen drove home a dipping shot from the right-hand edge of the box to beat Trudy Burke in her debut game. It was a finish United would strive for, with goals from open play proving rare this season.
''The finishing in the box, that's our problem right now. Of course we should shoot outside the box more and our crosses aren't the best so far, so this is again a topic we'll do in training sessions,'' Klimkova said.
The task of winning will be made more difficult next week, with Sykes likely to be sidelined for several weeks with a quad injury, and Brush suspended.
Heyman also has to sit out Saturday's game against Melbourne as a Matildas squad member. Hayley Raso has school commitments.
United was again without Sally Shipard, who didn't make it through training in the week after her first game back from knee surgery against Adelaide.
AT A GLANCE
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS 1 (Teigen Allen 23m) drew CANBERRA UNITED 1 (Caitlin Munoz 73m) at Campbelltown Stadium. Referee: Kate Jacewicz.