Preview: Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix
Date: Saturday August 29, Kick-off: 5:00pm AEST Wellington heads across the ditch for the third time in the first four rounds to take on a Sydney side which is yet to suffer defeat in three matches and is currently second on the table.
Date: Saturday August 29 Kick-off: 5:00pm AEST Venue: Sydney Football Stadium TV and Radio:
Head-to-head Played 6: Wins: Sydney 2, Wellington 3, Draws: 1
Previous meeting Sydney FC 1, Wellington Phoenix 0, Sydney Football Stadium, Round 19, January 2009
Season so far: Sydney FC: Round 1: North Queensland 2, Sydney FC 3, Dairy Farmers Stadium Round 2: Sydney FC 1, Adelaide United 0, SFS Round 3: Central Coast 0, Sydney FC 0, Bluetongue Stadium
Wellington Phoenix: Round 1: Newcastle Jets 3, Wellington Phoenix 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium, Round 2: Wellington Phoenix 2, Perth Glory 1, Westpac Stadium, Round 3: Brisbane Roar 1, Wellington Phoenix 1, Suncorp Stadium
Analysis: Wellington heads across the ditch for the third time in the first four rounds to take on a Sydney side which is yet to suffer defeat in three matches and is currently second on the table.
Vitezslav Lavicka's new blue-collar Sky Blues are certainly getting the job done, albeit they were a little fortunate to get a point out of the 0-0 draw with Central Coast with the Mariners missing a late penalty.
The Czech coach has got his team playing very disciplined football and while the effort against the Mariners wasn't one for the highlight reel, in the end it got the away point it wanted from the game. John Aloisi could have had a goal, while defenders Stephan Keller and Karol Kisel also narrowly missed efforts in the first half.
It was only the second time in 12 games that Sydney has gone without scoring in a match, while back-to-back clean sheets for Clint Bolton, who produced a quality penalty save, has the stopper in the sort of confidence which made him one of the best in the Hyundai A-League in the first two seasons.
Sydney has included Mitchell Prentice, Stuart Musialik, Adam Casey and Rhyan Grant in an extended squad.
Wellington has overcome the disappointment of its first round loss to record two very impressive results in the past fortnight. It came from behind in both matches as it defeated Perth 2-1 and then secured a very valuable 1-1 draw in Brisbane last week.
Both of those results showed some real character, and in Paul Ifill and Chris Greenacre, Ricki Herbert may have found a replacement for Shane Smeltz. The big worry for the Phoenix pre-season was finding a way to goal, but given both of their new strikers have got off the mark and Leo Bertos is in career-best form, they have the potential to really surprise this year.
The Phoenix boast an excellent record over Sydney, having won three of the six previous clashes, including two memorable successes at the Sydney Football Stadium. But as in-form defender Jon McKain pointed out this week, the Phoenix can't keep on coming from behind in matches and will rely on making a strong start to this match.
The key will be to get control of the game in the midfield and prevent Sydney from using its speed out on the flanks to get forward and cause them trouble. Herbert has brought five players into an extended squad, Tim Brown, Jiang Chen, David Mulligan, Marco Rojas and Costa Barbarouses.
Sydney FC: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 3. Stephan KELLER, 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 5. Mitchell PRENTICE, 6. Karol KISEL, 7. Brendan GAN, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 9. John ALOISI, 10. Steve CORICA (c), 11. Kofi DANNING, 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN, 17. Matthew JURMAN, 18. Adam CASEY, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 22. Sung Hwan BYUN, 23. Rhyan GRANT. *Four to be omitted*
In: Mitchell PRENTICE (promoted), Stuart MUSIALIK (promoted), Adam CASEY (promoted), Rhyan GRANT (promoted) Out: Nil Unavailable: Sebastian RYALL (suspended - 1 week)
Wellington Phoenix squad: 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 2. Manny MUSCAT, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 4. Jon McKAIN, 5. DIEGO, 6. Tim BROWN, 7. Leo BERTOS, 8. Paul IFILL. 9. Chris GREENACRE, 10. Michael FERRANTE, 11. DANIEL, 12. Jiang CHEN, 13. Troy HEARFIELD, 16. David MULLIGAN, 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 20. Reece CROWTHER (gk), 21. Marco ROJAS, 22. Andrew DURANTE (c), 23. Costa BARBAROUSES *five to be omitted*
In: Tim BROWN (return from injury), Jiang CHEN (promoted), David MULLIGAN (promoted), Marco ROJAS (promoted), Costa BARBAROUSES (promoted) Out: Nil Unavailable: Nil