If they are to succeed at the Olympics – assuming they qualify – they will need to capitalise on the chances they create and the fact they have one of the world’s best players in Kerr leading their attack.
And the Matildas almost paid the price for that profligacy when Chile went close to grabbing an equaliser from a second half set piece.
Milicic made four changes to the starting line up that beat Chile in Parramatta, with Tameka Yallop Alanna Kennedy, Emily Gielnik and Amy Harrison coming in for Jenna McCormick, Emily Van Egmond, Aivi Luik and Hayley Raso.
The Matildas took the spoils thanks to a Gielknik goal midway through the opening period.
Kerr turned provider on this occasion, the Matildas skipper sliding a pass through the channel to Gielnik who fired in from an acute angle on the right. The ball took a deflection before cannoning past unlucky Chile goalkeeper Natalia Campos on her near post.
Goakeepers inevitably attract criticism when they are beaten in such fashion, but the 27-year-old made amends in no uncertain fashion in first half stoppage time when she kept her team in the game, guessing correctly when she went to her right to block a Kerr penalty.
The spot kick had been awarded after Campos had brought down the Matildas’ talisman after she dived at her feet to try and clear, only succeeding in tripping her up.
This was the second penalty Kerr had missed in recent Australia matches as she also failed from the spot in the penalty shoot out in Nice, which eventually saw Australia eliminated by Norway in the women’s World Cup in France last June.
The Matildas, fuelled by the hard running Ellie Carpenter on the right flank and Steph Catley on the left during the first half, continued in the same vein at the start of the second.
Kerr, anxious to atone, thundered a shot that beat Campos but rattled the crossbar, then Amy Harrison had a shot cleared off the line as the Matildas piled on the pressure.
Former Adelaide Crows premiership star McCormick got the chance to impress in front of her own fans when she replaced Claire Polkinghorne but it was goalkeeper Lydia Williams Australia had to thank for maintaining the lead just before the hour mark when she denied Daniela Zamora’s volley from Francisca Lara’s well flighted free kick.