United States defender Kayla Sharples was excellent in Adelaide United’s 3-1 away win over Canberra United on Saturday.
The 24-year-old shifted to the centre of defence after operating as a make-shift right-back last weekend.
And Sharples illustrated her defensive qualities with a tenacious and resolute performance.
She made nine clearances and one interception, helping the Reds negotiate an incessant barrage of Canberra pressure mainly in the second stanza to collect back-to-back victories.
“They did come out really strong in the second-half,” Sharples told Paramount+ in a post-match interview.
“We kind of knew it and I think we have to get better moving forward.
“Coming out in the second-half, having a bit more momentum, a little bit of oomph to our step.
“But I think we did a fantastic job in weathering the storm and sometimes performances aren’t always going to be our best soccer and sometimes it’s not pretty, but at the end of the day we got the win.
“And all you can do is fight for each other and just dig one out for the team.”
Sharples was delighted with Adelaide’s ruthlessness in attack, scoring at crucial times, none more so than when United’s third arrived against the run of play in the 77th minute.
“I think that all the goals, honestly, were very well executed,” she said.
“Fiona (Worts) having that last one put our mind at ease a little bit, but again we know Canberra can come back really strong and fighting.
“So we weren’t complacent with that and I think in the end, we did have to play a little bit more defensive minded but it worked to our ability.
“Again, this team is really strong, and they’re a different Adelaide United team.
“So I’m just really happy to be a part of this Club and see what we can do moving forward because now we’re at a 3-2 winning (win/loss) record, so that’s great to see.”
Hailing from Chicago, Sharples said she has really loved her time in Adelaide and believed this team has the potential to contend for the title.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time here so far,” she continued.
“The girls are amazing, I like the coaching philosophy as well and so I think we still haven’t hit our peak and there’s a lot of season left as well.
“So I think every single day during training and every game, we’re just pushing ourselves a little bit more trying to get better and better.
“Hopefully within the next few weeks, we can really get into the swing of things and have our rhythm down and we’ll definitely be fighting for a championship.”