Preview: Adelaide United v Melbourne Heart

The Heart will probably set up to frustrate and try to pinch a goal on the counter attack - but they'll be no match for Adelaide if they finally fire.

Date: Friday, 4 November 2011 Kick-off: 8.00pm AEDT, 7.30pm local Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium

Head-to-head Played 3: Wins: Adelaide 2, Heart 1, Draws: 0

Previous encounter Heart 2, Adelaide 1, 17 December 2010

History: Adelaide had the wood over the competition's newest side in their first two meetings, but fell to a soul-crushing defeat last time they met at Hindmarsh. In a match that was the very definition of a smash-and-grab victory, the Heart snapped a six-game losing streak courtesy of two goals in the final five minutes. Sergio van Dijk's goal just after half-time looked like it was all the Reds needed to seal the three points, but Adelaide-born striker John Aloisi and then-captain Simon Colosimo had other ideas.


Past five matches: Adelaide: LWLL Heart: LLDD

Summary of form: The Reds will be absolutely smarting this week, coming off that horrific 7-1 demolition in Brisbane. The Roar are good, of course, but words can barely describe how easily Adelaide's rearguard was torn open by the reigning Hyundai A-League champs. It was like a bad game of FIFA 12. On the other side of the coin, Melbourne Heart were left absolutely shattered when a last-gasp goal from Sydney FC's Nicky Carle robbed them of their first win of the season.

Match Committee: There's good news for the Heart - new 10-game injury replacement signing Adrian Madaschi is available for selection and will most likely play a significant role on Friday night. However, coach John van 't Schip is still sweating on the fitness of their puppet master and skipper Fred who hasn't played for the past two weeks and has been missed dearly. There's even better news for Adelaide - Rini Coolen has 21 fit and firing players to choose from, which means that striker Bruce Djite, defender Nigel Boogard and utility Fabian Barbiero are all a chance to play.

Danger men:

Dario Vidosic - It's been overshadowed by the avalanche of goals that came almost immediately after it, but Vidosic's opener against Brisbane Roar last weekend was a stunner. What happened next was symptomatic of a team that had its structure and gameplan all at sea, but Adelaide looked more than okay for the first 15 minutes and the sometime Qantas Socceroo was the driving force. No doubt, he will be a central figure once again on Friday night.

Mate Dugandzic - The 22-year-old has been in cracking form ever since joining the Heart from their bitter cross-town rivals. Dugandzic left Victory in search of greater opportunity in a system that worked for him, and he has slotted right in. A danger on the wing, United will have to keep him quiet to maximize their chances of a form reversal.

At the end of the day… Adelaide simply have to respond after the effort they put in last week against Brisbane. Their loyal fans are an expectant bunch, and they have every right to be given the star-studded team that Rini Coolen has put together. They don't turn out in big numbers every week to see the kind of dross that plagued that 7-1 loss, a day that will go down in club history for all the wrong reasons. With what is apparently an injury-free squad, there are no excuses this time - only a win will satisfy the United faithful.

Standing in their way are an unfortunate Heart side who by rights should be ahead of the Reds on the table - that's if last week's calamitous equaliser didn't go in. They haven't really turned on the 'total football' yet that they talked up ahead of their introduction to the competition last season, but van 't Schip's men haven't really plunged to the depths that Adelaide did last weekend, either. With both sides needing a win badly, the Heart will probably set up to frustrate and try to pinch a goal on the counter attack - but they'll be no match for the hosts if they finally fire.