Condensed schedule results in lethargic Melbourne Derby

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Melbourne City had a tough task ahead of them when they took the field in the first Melbourne Derby of the season, their third game in seven days.

Fans of Melbourne City would have been thinking that the strenuous schedule was going to be too much for the players when only 13 minutes into the first half Alex Chidiac was able to capitalise on a wayward pass by Naomi Chinnama outside Melbourne City’s own box.

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But conceding a quick goal seemed to rally the players for the rest of the game, where they were able to keep possession and control the flow of the game much like all other City Football Group clubs.

The star of the show for Melbourne City was Kaitlyn Torpey, who was playing as an attacking right-sided wing-back due to a formation change by head coach Dario Vidosic. This saw Chinnama slot back into a central defence role leading to a 5-2-3 formation.

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Torpey was bombing up and down the right touchline creating havoc for the Victory defense. This led to her being able to set up Melbourne city’s equaliser after she was able to make a cutback pass to Hannah Wilkinson on the edge of the box who struck it first time opening her scoring tally for the season.

But in the second half the gas tanks hit empty, Melbourne City were obviously not up to the required fitness levels that they needed to be to get an equaliser. Questions need to be asked about The A-Leagues decision to schedule three games in such quick succession.

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The derby was Melbourne City’s third game in seven days. That’s bad enough, but if it wasn’t for City’s third game being delayed due to extreme heat in Melbourne, they would have had to play three in six days. In a league where there is no cup competition running concurrently with the league, there really is no excuse for such a condensed schedule.

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When professional footballers are forced to play these extremely congested schedules the quality of the games are going to falter. APL showing off the talent on the field in the A-League Women is how they are going to bring new audiences to the product.

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Unfortunately, women’s sport is unfairly lambasted for its on-field quality while elite pathways for women’s sport are still relatively new compared to men’s sport.

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The A-League Women’s competition is such a shining light that is respected by football professionals around the world, the APL need to make sure that they don’t unintentionally damage their own product by making scheduling unrealistic.

Featured Image Credit: Melbourne City FC

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Caydn Foley
Football Fanatic. Journalism student hoping to make this a career. Covering Melbourne City for the 22/23 A-Leagues season.

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