The popularity of the Matildas continues to soar, with a record-breaking crowd of more than 36,000 people attending their match in Sydney against the United States over the weekend.
Despite the wet weather, the Australian team managed to break a 21-year record, with the highest ever crowd for a women’s football match in Australia, as 36,109 fans packed in to Stadium Australia.
Unfortunately, the Matildas were not able to impress in front of the home crowd, suffering a disappointing 3-0 loss to the United States. The Americans set the tone straight out of the gate, scoring their first goal in just 24 seconds, and then maintaining the lead throughout.
Australian coach Tony Gustavsson had styled the game as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup that’s due to be hosted by Australia and New Zealand in 2023. It was a reality check for the Australians as the US arrived in Sydney without several of their key players and put forward a relatively inexperienced team.
Despite the disappointing loss, Caitlin Foord said it was great for the players to be able to have their families in the crowd, with some being able to travel from interstate thanks to relaxed travel restrictions.
“This time around girls from different states could have family fly in to watch the games,” she said.
“For those girls to be able to see their family for the first time in about two years and just knowing that they’re there and on top of that, having all the fans, the record crowd and playing at Stadium Australia, which we’d never done before, it was just an incredible experience.”
The Matildas will play a second game against the United States in Newcastle on Tuesday night at 8pm, and it will be broadcast live on Network 10.
The games against the United States come just before the start of the A-League Women season, which kicks off on Friday, December 3. This season, the A-League welcomes a record number of female coaches, as reported by the ABC.
Last year, there was just one female coach in what was known as the W-League. This year, the competition with its revamped name, A-League Women, has women making up four out of ten coaches – the most there has ever been.
The coaches include Ash Wilson (Newcastle Jets), Catherine Cannuli (Western Sydney Wanderers), Gemma Lewis (Wellington Phoenix) and Vicki Linton (Canberra United).
The first game of the season will be played this Friday, when Wellington Phoenix take on Western Sydney Wanderers at 5pm.