Preview: Adelaide United v Gold Coast United
Adelaide United's season is on the slide having secured just four points in its past five matches and must beat Gold Coast to get back into contention for the finals.
Date: Friday November 20 Kick-off: 7:30pm ACST (8pm AEST) Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 2 and Sky Sport 1. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is FRESH FM (Adelaide). To purchase tickets visit www.venuetix.com.au
Head-to-head Played 1: Wins: Adelaide United 0, Gold Coast United 1, Draws: -
Previous meeting Adelaide United 0, Gold Coast United 2, Hindmarsh Stadium, Round 3, August 2009
Past five matches: Adelaide: Round 10: Perth Glory 1, Adelaide United 0, Members Equity Stadium Round 11: Adelaide United 2, Sydney FC 1, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 12: Melbourne Victory 3, Adelaide United 1, Etihad Stadium Round 13: Central Coast 0, Adelaide United 0, Canberra Stadium Round 14: Adelaide United 0, Brisbane Roar 2, Hindmarsh Stadium
Gold Coast: Round 10: Brisbane 0, Gold Coast United 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 11: Gold Coast United 2, Perth Glory 1, Skilled Park Round 12: Wellington Phoenix 6, Gold Coast United 0, Westpac Stadium Round 13: Gold Coast United 0, North Queensland 2, Skilled Park Round 14: Gold Coast 1, Sydney FC 0, Skilled Park
Analysis: Adelaide United's season is on the slide having secured just four points in its past five matches. Its Round 14 loss to the Roar was reflective of its entire season with the Reds creating and then wasting plenty of opportunities before the opposition went in for the kill.
Coach Aurelio Vidmar says his team is filthy with its inconsistent efforts this season and has been testing its strikers under pressure during the past fortnight of training.
The big question is what are the best attacking options for the Reds at the moment? Cristiano fought his way off the bench and scored two goals against Sydney FC but since then has struggled to have an impact, Lloyd Owusu couldn't convert a penalty kick against the Roar and wasn't dominant in his appearance in the National Youth League while Travis Dodd isn't at his best either.
The good news is Mathew Leckie is back from a hamstring strain and seems to be the man who sparks his other attacking team-mates into action. The inclusion of defender Iain Fyfe is a bonus too.
Vidmar suggested there could be some changes to the line-up so with some players fighting for spots there's sure to be extra urgency from the home side.
Life is not going to be easy however with the Gold Coast rediscovering some form after going off the boil a few weeks ago. They were thrashed 6-0 by Wellington Phoenix, lost 2-0 to North Queensland before regaining composure to record a 1-0 victory over Sydney FC - Shane Smeltz scoring the winner in the first half.
While the competition took a break last weekend, two of the Gold Coast's key players - Smeltz and Jason Culina - were completing international duties.
It'll be interesting to see how they settle back into the domestic competition as many players before them have struggled to get their feet back on the ground after big matches.
Midfielder Steve Pantelidis will have his feet firmly planted ... but unfortunately for his team-mates they'll be planted back at home in Queensland after he incurred a suspension in Round 14. He'll be a big loss for the visitors but keep an eye out for NYL player Zac Anderson who can play an important role in the middle of the park in Pantelidis' absence.
Coach Miron Bleiberg is concerned his side lost momentum during the break and is wary of a desperate Adelaide United.
But after beating the Reds in Round 3 he should be confident his side can take at least a point from this one.
Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3.ALEMAO, 4.Iain FYFE, 5.Daniel MULLEN, 6.CASSIO, 7.Lucas PANTELIS, 8.Kristian SARKIES, 9.CRISTIANO, 10.Adam HUGHES, 11.Lloyd OWUSU, 13.Travis DODD (c), 14.Scott JAMIESON, 18.Fabian BARBIERO, 19. Mathew LECKIE, 21.Mark RUDAN, 20. Mark BIRIGHITTI(gk)
In: Mathew LECKIE (returns from injury), Iain FYFE (returns from illness), Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk) (returns from international duty)
Out: Daniel GODLEY(gk) (ends short term)
Unavailable: Michael MARRONE (knee - 1 week), Paul REID (calf - 1 week), Joe COSTA (knee - indefinite)
Gold Coast United squad: 1.Jess VANSTRATTAN (gk), 3.Michael THWAITE, 7.Zenon CARAVELLA, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 10.Jason CULINA (c), 13.Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 14.Joel PORTER, 15.Tahj MINNIECON, 16.Kristian REES, 17.Matt OSMAN, 18.James BROWN, 20.Scott HIGGINS (gk), 23.Steve FITZSIMMONS, 24.ANDERSON, 26.Golgol MEBRAHTU, 28.Mitch BEVAN, 29.Zac ANDERSON
In: Jess VANSTRATTAN (gk) (returns from back injury), James BROWN (promoted), Golgol MEBRAHTU (promoted), Zac ANDERSON (promoted).
Out: Steve PANTELIDIS (suspended - 2 weeks), Jerrad TYSON (gk) (not selected)
Unavailable: Daniel PIORKOWSKI (ankle injury - indefinite), ROBSON (knee injury - 6 weeks). Richard GREER (groin injury - 3 weeks), Adama TRAORE (knee injury - 3 weeks)