Preview: Adelaide United v Sydney FC

Adelaide have a lot to recommend them. They were three-from-three against Sydney FC last season, they're at home again this week and they're coming off a confidence-building win over Melbourne Victory.

Date: Saturday, October 22 Kick-off: 5.00pm ACDT Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide

Head-to-head Played: 21, Adelaide United 10, Sydney FC 9, Drawn 3

Previous encounter Adelaide United 2, Sydney FC 0, Hindmarsh Stadium, December 2010

History: Adelaide United made a clean sweep of their three clashes with Sydney FC last season. United prevailed 3-1 and 2-1 away before securing a straightforward 2-0 win at home in late December. Sergio Van Dijk netted twice in the first match at the Sydney Football Stadium and got his name on the scoresheet again in game three at home.

Form: Adelaide United: L, W Sydney FC: D, L

Form Summary: Adelaide United suffered a 1-0 loss to Perth Glory in their season opener at nib Stadium. Perth's Irish recruit Billy Mehmet scored on debut in the 76th minute. United redeemed themselves with a 1-0 win over arch rivals Melbourne Victory at Hindmarsh Stadium last Friday night. Sergio Van Dijk opened his account for the season after pouncing on a loose pass from Victory left-back Fabio.

Sydney FC came away from Etihad Stadium with a point for a scoreless draw with Melbourne Victory in an opening-round clash that will be remembered for outstanding performances from goalkeepers Ante Covic and Liam Reddy. Covic's heroics included a penalty save from star Sydney recruit Brett Emerton. Sydney played host to Brisbane Roar the following Saturday and were no match for the titleholders in going down 2-0.

Match Committee:

Adelaide United will be without Nigel Boogaard (ankle) for at least another fortnight while Joe Mullen, who missed the win over Melbourne Victory with a hamstring strain, faces a race against time to prove his fitness. Otherwise, Rini Coolen will have little cause to tinker with a winning line-up.

Sydney FC defender Shannon Cole is set to miss with a calf strain and striker Mark Bridge has another week to serve for his opening-round red card against Melbourne Victory. Striker Juho Makela is close to returning from a quad injury.

Danger men: Sergio Van Dijk: Give last year's Golden Boot winner half a chance and he will make you pay. Van Dijk created something out of nothing when he picked up Fabio's loose pass against Victory last Friday night and slammed the ball past Ante Covic in goal. There's plenty more where that came from. Pascal Bosschaart: Sydney FC's 31-year-old Dutch import has settled in nicely and looks set to play a key role in the Sky Blues' defence in his debut A-League season.

At the end of the day…

Adelaide have a lot to recommend them. They were three-from-three against Sydney FC last season, they're at home again this week and they're coming off a confidence-building win over Melbourne Victory.

The Sky Blues, in contrast, are struggling. The fixture hasn't been kind to them. The Victory first-up followed by a date with Brisbane Roar, now Adelaide away, makes for a testing start to the new season.

Brett Emerton's form must be a concern for Vitezslav Lavicka. Sydney's star signing was disconsolate after failing to convert from the penalty spot against the Victory and well below his best second-up against the Roar when deployed on the left wing. Fellow midfielder Nicky Carle is also yet to hit his stride.

In contrast, Dario Vidosic impressed on debut for Adelaide against the Victory. Home after four years campaigning in the Bundesliga, the 24-year-old stands to provide United with a new dimension in attack both as a foil and partner for Sergio Van Dijk.

Fit and fully recovered from the various injury niggles that delayed his start to the new season, Vidosic adds class to an Adelaide squad that's full of depth and talent.

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Osama MALIK, 4.Jon McKAIN, 5.Daniel MULLEN, 6.CASSIO, 7.Zenon CARAVELLA, 8.Evgeniy LEVCHENKO, 9.Sergio VAN DIJK, 10.Dario VIDOSIC, 14.Cameron WATSON, 16.Spase DILEVSKI, 17.Iain RAMSAY, 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 21.Francisco USUCAR, 22.Milan SUSAK, 23.Andy SLORY *one to be omitted*

In: Daniel MULLEN (returns from injury), Cameron WATSON (promoted) Out: Bruce DJITE (groin - 2 weeks) Unavailable: Nigel BOOGAARD (ankle - 3 weeks)

Sydney FC squad: 1. Liam Reddy, 2. Sebastian Ryall, 3. Jamie Coyne, 4. Pascal Bosschaart, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 6. Hirofumi Moriyasu, 7. Brett Emerton, 8. Karol Kisel, 9. Bruno Cazarine, 10. Nick Carle, 11. Dimi Petratos, 15. Terry McFlynn (c), 17. Terry Antonis, 20. Ivan Necevski, 21. Scott Jamieson, 23 Rhyan Grant *one to be omitted*

In: 6. Hirofumi Moriyasu (promoted) Out: Nil Unavailable: Juho Makela (quad, 4 weeks), Shannon Cole (calf, 1 week), Mark Bridge (suspended - 1 match)