Matilda Sarah Walsh retiring after US tour

The Westfield Matildas will farewell one of their all-time greats at tomorrow’s clash against the United States, when Sarah Walsh makes her 71st and final appearance in green and gold.

Walsh, 29, has been a cornerstone member of the Westfield Matildas since making her debut in February 2004 against New Zealand in an international friendly.

Despite the occasional injury setback, Walsh has managed appearances at the 2004 Olympic Games, the 2006 and 2010 AFC Women’s Asian Cup tournaments and at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

In 70 international appearances to date, Walsh has found the back of the net on 31 occasions, including Australia’s opening goal of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Walsh also netted a rare international hat trick against Chinese Taipei in an Olympic Games qualifier in April 2007 and has recorded braces on six occasions.

Domestically, Walsh tasted Westfield W-League Championship and Premiership success with Sydney FC in 2009, having earlier blazed a trail for Australian women’s footballers abroad with stints in the United States with Pali Blues and Saint Louis Athletica.

Against the US, Walsh closes the curtain on her standout eight-year international career, and is hoping to do so in style against one of the Westfield Matildas’ oldest foes.

“It still just feels like another Westfield Matildas camp to me, there’s probably a little bit of a difference.

“I’m walking around with this big smile on my head and it’s probably annoying to the girls, but, I’m just trying to soak it all in,” Walsh said, following Australia’s final training session ahead of tomorrow’s clash.

“There’s so many clichés I could throw out, but all the clichés are exactly what I feel.

“Being a Westfield Matilda for the past eight years has contributed to the person I am, there’s more to be than being a Westfield Matilda.

“I have a lot more qualities to offer, but in saying that, it’s been a huge chunk of my life and something that I’ll take forward in later years.

“It’s been an amazing time, obviously the friends that you meet, you spend so much time with the girls, definitely the friends that I’ve met I’ll continue to grow those and watch the Westfield Matildas.”

The game will be the 23rd between the United States and Australia, with the Westfield Matildas yet to post their breakthrough win over one of the powerhouse nations of women’s football.

Weather conditions in Denver are much more mild than what the Westfield Matildas experienced in Los Angeles, but the support in the stands at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park will mirror that from last Sunday.

The 19,152 capacity arena – traditional home to Major League Soccer side Colorado Rapids – is expected to be be full, with pre sales suggesting a sell out is likely.

Westfield Matildas defender Laura Alleway, who was forced from the pitch with a shoulder injury on Sunday, is the only confirmed absentee from an Australian side that will be determined to show more of the form from their impressive demonstration in Los Angeles.

“For me, it depends who really turns up on the day with us. Obviously we have a young squad, there’s been a lot of talk about that, but we showed what the young squad could do in the first half (on Sunday),” Walsh said.

“Putting in a 90-minute performance is what it’s going to take, they (the United States) still have that base fitness from their last two years with World Cup and Olympics.

“It’s going to definitely be a difficult task to be able to beat them, but it’s definitely not impossible.”

The Westfield Matildas will conclude their tour of the United States with a follow up friendly against the United States at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Denver on Wednesday, 19 September. Kick off is at 8pm local time (Kick off 12pm AEST, Thursday, 20 September).