Her reaction after scoring, wheeling around to her team-mates with a look of shock and disbelief on her face, seemed to embody the last couple months’ worth of emotion and work that has led her to this point online installment loans OK.
That she had the word “SHOOT” written in black marker on the tape around her wrist also spoke to how this young Kiwi footballer has taken her slim opportunity with both hands: Shooting her shot, if you will.
“I really can’t describe the feeling and put into words how much it meant, but I just couldn’t even believe what had happened.
“Straight after the game, everyone was saying, ‘Alyssa, you’re going viral’ and I was like, ‘Surely for the goal?’, but they’re like, ‘No, for the celebration!’
“If you watch the games, you know I’m not one to shoot when I probably should, so everyone was yelling at me in that moment: ‘ ‘
There was a moment against Sydney FC on Saturday afternoon that seemed to encapsulate the first half of Canberra United’s bizarre 2021-22 season.
Within seconds of Hawkesby floating the ball towards the six-yard box, three Canberra players had clattered into each other and were in a tangled heap on the ground, while the goal music was blaring out of the stadium speakers.
It was the third of six goals United would concede this round – their worst ever result in the history of the competition.
Inconsistent squad selections and the deployment of players in unusual positions have been the defining features of United’s season so far, with the game against Sydney the most blatant example of the damage it can cause.
The loss of regular starting midfielder Grace Maher and defender Emma Ilijoski to COVID-19 – as well as short-term loanee Karly Roestbakken to Matildas duty – saw head coach Vicki Linton reach deep into her bench and make wholesale positional rotations.
Speedy winger Hayley Taylor-Young was shuffled into left-back, young defender Mikayla Vidmar was handed her starting debut at centre-back, while the midfield was almost completely new with Laura Hughes and Margot Robinne handed starts after mostly coming off the bench in previous games.
The lack of chemistry and understanding between players was almost immediately evident as Sydney striker Rojas sailed through Canberra’s too-high defensive line to register the game’s first shot in the opening 40 seconds.
There were problems in midfield, too, which regularly dissolved under pressure and found players regularly caught out of position due to lack of communication between the make-shift trio.
It’s perhaps fitting that Canberra suffered this historic result against Sydney, a team that has typified long-term planning and multi-season squad consistency.
They’re also a side with a very clear style and system of play, constructed to maximise the natural abilities of the players at their disposal, while also allowing them to drop in and out of the one, shared structure.
Their first six games have been a noticeable departure from the identity and the spirit that has made the club one of Australia’s most successful, the club that was the envy of all others for so long.
Jeff Hopkins probably didn’t expect that his season would become an unwanted game of whack-a-mole as a result of needing to rapidly and effectively fill the gaps left by the injury and departure of various key players.
The first big whack was trying to find an appropriate replacement for the team’s injured centre-back and captain, Kayla Morrison.
This past Sunday against Western Sydney, Victory appear to have settled on the duo of Claudia Bunge and Amy Jackson, who recorded the team’s first clean sheet and look to be the ones to anchor their defence in future.