Logarzo in mix as Western chase A-League Women triumph
After a season of defying expectations, A-League Women newcomers Western United are confident they can stun powerhouse Sydney FC in their first grand final.
United will attempt to become the second expansion team, after Melbourne City in 2015-16, to claim silverware in their inaugural season in the clash at CommBank Stadium on Sunday.
The newcomers, who finished second in the regular season, beat Sydney 1-0 in their semi-final, earning a week off to freshen up before the rematch.
"We all went into this season with a good attitude but not really expecting a whole lot from ourselves and not knowing what to expect with new players coming in and whatnot," captain Jaclyn Sawicki told AAP.
"We've gone above and beyond our expectations and we've worked really hard.
"This is why we play this beautiful game; it's these big games and we're really excited."
There is no hiding away from the Australian Professional Leagues' decision to sell the grand final to Sydney, which means United had to travel despite technically earning hosting rights by beating the Sky Blues in the semi-final.
"It will be a little bit sweeter (to win despite that) and knowing that we were one point away from the premiership in our first season," Sawicki said.
"We really want to come away with something at the end of this."
United have named Chloe Logarzo to return from a lingering foot injury that's sidelined her for three-and-a-half months, with the former Sky Blues star given every opportunity to prove her fitness, while Sydney are at full strength.
Coach Mark Torcaso said if Logarzo got through Saturday's training session and could play 20-30 minutes off the bench, she would be picked.
"Well I definitely can't start, that's one thing," Logarzo, who is desperate to build fitness ahead of the Women's World Cup, told reporters on Saturday.
"So definitely be coming off the bench.
"But yeah, it's going to be one of those decisions. If I'm coming off a bench, how long am I going to play? What's the impact that I can bring? They're all the conversations I'm going to have to have tonight.
"Obviously, I haven't played a game since January, so how much of an impact can I make coming on? Can I play any more than 15 minutes?"
Regardless of whether Logarzo provides headaches, Sydney will be wary of a United outfit that physically bullied them last time around.
"We knew they'd be aggressive, we just probably weren't aggressive enough back," Sydney coach Ante Juric said.
"We need to show people that even though we're skilful and attacking, we need to protect and stand up for ourselves."
Sydney bounced back from that defeat with a hard-fought win over Melbourne Victory.
Juric hoped a more match-hardened lead-in could deliver a second championship from Sydney's sixth consecutive grand final.
"Not having a bye has definitely helped us," he said.
"In the past years, it's hurt us, so I'm a lot happier to have had that game last week."