With our two new Northern European signings, our interest in Euro 2017 qualification expands beyond Scotland and Wales. But first, we take a look at summer soccer down under.Melbourne City FC (Kim Little, Jess Fishlock)
Melb City's rampage over the rest of the W League hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. They've played two home matches since our last update and both were shutout wins. First, they beat Adelaide 2-0, with the second goal scored by Fishlock via a cross from Little. Then they hammered Brisbane 4-0, with Little scoring a brace on her Reign teammate Haley Kopmeyer after the Roar went down to 10 players in the second half.
City's perfect record has them clear at the top of the table by a country mile. They have 18 points, ahead of defending champion Canberra in second with 10. This weekend they take on last-place Melbourne Victory in a Melbourne Derby rematch. City beat them 2-1 without Little and Fishlock on the field earlier in the season.Brisbane Roar (Kopmeyer)
After an early start to the season, the Roar have gone into a freefall. Kopmeyer is facing a barrage of shots in front of a fairly porous defense, and while that's not very good for the Roar, it could be a positive for her development considering she doesn't get to face nearly as many chances behind the Reign's strong defense.
In their three games since the last update, the Roar have lost 0-2 to Perth, 0-4 to the aforementioned City, and 0-4 again to Newcastle. They're now ahead of only the Victory on the bottom of the table heading into an away match at second-place Canberra.Canberra United (Kendall Fletcher)
Since losing to City, Canberra are on a three-game undefeated run, all on the road. That included a draw at Newcastle, a close win over Sydney, and a big 4-1 win over Keelin Winters' Western Sydney in which Fletcher, who plays as a deep-lying midfielder for United, scored a brace.
Now they play three in a row at home, starting with struggling Brisbane this weekend.Western Sydney Wanderers (Winters)
Wanderers have had a light schedule — playing only twice since the last update. They comfortably beat last-place Victory at home 3-1, with Winters scoring the 3rd goal on a penalty kick. Then they got knocked around by Canberra.
This weekend they try to get revenge in a Sydney Derby rematch after losing 1-2 earlier in the season to their neighbors. Then they get another crack at Melbourne Victory.Scotland (Little, Rachel Corsie)
Scotland's relentless march to Euro 2017 qualification continued with an absolute hammering of Macedonia 10-0 at home. Incredibly, Little didn't score any of those goals despite playing the whole match. She seemed content to trail the play to the top of the box, but the Scottish forwards never needed to cut the ball back to her since they were heading in goals at will against the Macedonian defense.
The big win keeps Scotland atop Group 1 ahead of Iceland with a healthy +23 goal differential through 4 games. Now they take a long break before qualification resumes in early April, right around the start of the NWSL season.
After struggling to start the qualification campaign with shutout losses in road games at the two strongest teams in the group — Austria and Norway — Y Ddraig Goch got their mojo back with a 4-0 home win over Kazakhstan. Then this week they drew Israel on the road 2-2. It's not a bad result, but if they want to catch up to the two power teams in the group, that 83rd minute equalizer they allowed may come back to haunt them. Still, they're back in third place and a home upset win over one of the top two could give them an opening.
They're also done with qualifiers until April, when they travel to Kazakhstan for a rematch.Netherlands (Manon Melis)
New Reign signing Melis has given us a newfound interest in Dutch football. The Dutch are hosting Euro 2017, so they've earned the poisoned chalice of not having to go through qualifiers (and therefore not getting a competitive match for years). But they're staying busy with friendlies, and last week beat World Cup finalists Japan 3-1, with Melis scoring two of the goals — one from the penalty spot.
Sweden (Antonia Göransson)
The second of the Reign's two international signings this month is the Swedish Göransson, who's finished her club season for Vittsjö GIK. Göransson has been a national team regular in the past, but doesn't seem to be a current part of Pia Sundhage's plans, as she hasn't been called up for any of the Euro qualifiers or for the national team camp conducted in November. That could end up being a blessing for the Reign, who could stand to lose fewer players during international breaks.