Reign loanees Jess Fishlock and Kim Little put in superstar performances for Melbourne City this weekend, leading them to victory in the W-League Grand Final. The win not only won a championship, it completed a remarkable season in which the expansion side won every one of their matches and won the regular season title by 10 points over defending champions Canberra.
Unlike last weekend's semifinal — which went to penalties thanks in large part to their Reign teammate Haley Kopmeyer having a career game in net for the Brisbane Roar — City used their dynamic attack to overpower Sydney en route to a 4-1 win.
Little was awarded Player of the Match for being involved three of City's four goals. She set up their first in the first half with a hard, curling cross that found Scotland teammate Jen Beattie at the far post.
Then early in the second half Melbourne won a free kick 20 yards out. Little and Fishlock played rock-paper-scissors to see who'd take it, and a tie left Little with the kick (Fishlock explained after the game that Little gets to win ties). The woman we call Kim Lethal curled a perfect shot into the top right corner to give Melbourne the 2-0 lead.
Sydney would cut the lead in half with a Kyah Simon penalty kick, but Little helped ice the game when she put a long pass over the defense directly into the path of Lisa De Vanna. The Australian speedster got deep behind the defense and cut a low cross to 18-year-old Beattie Goad for the third goal.
De Vanna would go on to score a 4th deep in injury time on a full field run, giving City the largest winning margin in the history of W-League Grand Finals.
Though Little is the player showing up on the scoresheet, Fishlock was just as important, both in patrolling the defensive midfield and in her dual roles as team captain and assistant coach. You can't put a better accomplishment on a coach's resume than a perfect season, and if this campaign is any indication she has a bright coaching future ahead of her after her playing days are over.
Now the two UK stars return to Seattle to try to repeat that Cup-winning success and bring a championship to Memorial Stadium.