ALW Match Preview: In-form Aquino backs Glory to resume Finals charge against Phoenix

Morgan Aquino will be out to cement her position as the Liberty A-League’s most in-form goalkeeper when Glory take on Wellington Phoenix in Friday evening’s high-stakes Round 19 clash at Macedonia Park (kick-off at 7pm, tickets available HERE).

View her full pre-match interview HERE.

The 22-year-old Perth local leads the competition in terms of both saves made (113) and highest save percentage (83.5) and produced another player of the match performance in last weekend’s battling 1-1 away draw with Newcastle Jets.

And she is determined to play her part in driving Glory back to winning ways as the race for Finals heads into its final furlong.

“I’m happy, I feel like I’m in form,” she said.

“I would have liked us to have got the win [against the Jets], but we still put in a hard performance, dug in deep and got a result.

“It could be a huge point that may bring us into the six.

“We know we need to get into the six to make the Finals and that has been our focus since the start of the season.

“But at the moment we’re just going day to day, looking at the game ahead and not making it too complicated.”

In terms of the factors driving her own stellar form, meanwhile, Aquino was quick to reference the support she has received from both Head Coach Alex Epakis and her teammates.

“I think it’s just about confidence and getting the minutes under my belt,” she said.

“Getting backed in by Alex to just go out there and perform and not worry about too much has really helped and obviously the girls around me have been a huge help too.”

As far as Friday night’s game is concerned, the shot-stopper is expecting Phoenix to provide a stern challenge.

“They’re a tough side and it’s going to be a fast game,” she said, “but if we stick to our game plan and give it our all, we should come away with the three points.

“We just need to not put too much pressure on ourselves and work together as a team.

“Being at home, our Members and fans always make a huge difference.

“They get right behind us and give us a big energy boost and we want to do it for them.”

Glory will face a Wellington side equally determined to end an indifferent run of form which has seen them win just one of their last eight games.

In their most recent outing, they were downed 5-3 by Melbourne Victory, with that result marking the third consecutive fixture in which the Kiwi side have conceded three or more goals.

One of Phoenix’s goals against Victory came from Venezuelan striker Mariana Speckmaier who has now found the net eight times this term, while Emma Main has bagged three and Macey Fraser has contributed three assists.

Glory were downed 2-1 when the teams met in Round 6, but the previous four clashes all yielded maximum points for the WA side and another victory on Friday would propel them back into the top six ahead of the remaining weekend fixtures.

Match Details

Liberty A-League 2023/24 Season Round 19

Perth Glory v Wellington Phoenix

Macedonia Park

Friday 8 March 2024

Kick-off: 7.00pm WST

Perth Glory squad: 1.Morgan AQUINO (GK), 3.Jessika COWART, 4.Natasha RIGBY (c), 7.Liz ANTON, 8.Hana LOWRY, 9.Millie FARROW, 10.Susan PHONSONGKHAM, 11.Grace JALE, 12.Sofia SAKALIS, 13.Sarah CAIN, 14.Tia STONEHILL, 17.Abbey GREEN, 18.Sadie LAWRENCE, 19.Izzy FOLETTA, 20.Quinley QUEZADA, 22.Claudia MIHOCIC, 23.Isobel DALTON, 24.Sally JAMES (GK), 28.Anika STAJCIC, 31.Clara HOARAU

Four to be omitted

Ins: 17.Abbey GREEN, 18.Sadie LAWRENCE, 28.Anika STAJCIC, 31.Clara HOARAU

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 16.Isabella WALLHEAD (injured), 25.Grace JOHNSTON (injured), 27.Georgia CASSIDY (international duty)

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1. Rylee FOSTER (gk), 2. Zoe MCMEEKEN, 4. Mackenzie BARRY, 6. Macey FRASER, 7. Isabel COX, 9. Kelli BROWN, 10. Alyssa WHINHAM, 11. Hope BRESLIN, 12. Brianna EDWARDS (gk), 13. Michaela FOSTER, 14. Michaela ROBERTSON, 15. Daisy BRAZENDALE, 16. Annalie LONGO (c), 17. Mariana SPECKMAIER, 18. Hailey DAVIDSON, 20. Emma MAIN, 21. Manaia ELLIOTT, 23. Rebecca LAKE, 26. Tiana JABER, 27. Helena ERRINGTON

Four to be omitted

Ins: Nil

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 3. Kate TAYLOR (injured), 5. Marisa VAN DER MEER (injured), 8. Grace WISNEWSKI (injured)