Preview: Adelaide United v Wellington Phoenix

Adelaide is looking to maintain its unbeaten record against the Phoenix, and in season 2008/09, in this match.

Date: Saturday August 30
Kick-off: 6:30pm local (7:00pm AEST)
Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium
TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 3 and Sky Sports 3. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is FRESH FM (Adelaide) and Radio Network (Wellington) 1035AM.

Three A-League meetings: Adelaide – 2 wins, Draws – 1

Previous meeting
Wellington Phoenix 1, Adelaide United 2, Westpac Stadium, Round 15, November 2007

Results so far
Round 1: Adelaide United 1, Perth Glory 0, Hindmarsh Stadium
Round 2: Queensland Roar 1, Adelaide United 1, Suncorp Stadium

Round 1: Wellington Phoenix 1, Queensland Roar 1, Westpac Stadium
Round 2: Wellington Phoenix 2, Melbourne Victory 4, Westpac Stadium

Adelaide is looking to maintain its unbeaten record against the Phoenix, and in season 2008/09, in this match. The Reds have been very solid in their narrow win against Perth and draw against Queensland with Travis Dodd responsible for both of their goals to date this season.

If you take the Pre-Season Cup and the Asian Champions League into account, the Reds have not been beaten in 12 matches since losing to Perth in the penultimate round of last season. That’s a very impressive record at any level of competition and there is a real sense of stability among Aurelio Vidmar’s squad despite the fact there have been a fair few personnel changes in the off-season.

Wellington’s strong Pre-Season Cup form hasn’t really carried on into the season proper, with just one point from its two matches so far. The Phoenix looked strong against Queensland, but they were outclassed against Melbourne. Wellington made several key defensive errors in that match, lost 4-2, and coach Ricki Herbert must be wondering if his team is going to make the same naive mistakes which plagued them last season. One of the few positives out of that performance is the continued form of Shane Smeltz, who scored one with his head and one from the spot to make it three goals for the season.

Vidmar will surely have plans in place to thwart the Wellington marksman’s goalscoring run, and with Sasa Ognenovski and Angelo Costanzo he possesses two of the most imposing defenders in the league. Ognenovski has had the flu this week but is expected to be alright to play.

Diego and Paul Agostino are both back in for the Reds in a boost for their attacking options.

Kristian Sarkies remains sidelined after hurting his knee at the Olympics, while Cassio is another week away. Vidmar has named a squad of 19 to keep his options open.

Herbert gets back Leo Bertos and Leilei Gao from injury, while David Mulligan has been included. Vaughan Coveny and Manny Muscat have been omitted to leave a squad of 16. Wellington’s only previous trip to Adelaide resulted in a 4-1 defeat, and Herbert will be hoping for a better performance this time around.

Adelaide United squad: 20. Eugene Galekovic (gk), 2. Robert Cornthwaite, 3. Alemao, 5. Michael Valkanis, 4. Angelo Costanzo, 7.Lucas Pantelis, 9. Paul Agostino, 10.Cristiano, 13.Travis Dodd (capt.), 14. Scott Jamieson, 15.Jonas Salley, 16. Daniel Mullen, 18.Fabian Barbiero, 19. Sasa Ognenovski, 21.Jason Spagnuolo, 22. Diego, 24. Paul Reid, 25. Robert Younis, 30 Mark Birighitti (gk).
* 4 to be omitted.

In. Diego (returns from injury), Michael Valkanis (returns from injury), Paul Agostino (returns from injury, Daniel Mullen (returns from international duty), Mark Birighitti (gk) – returns from international duty).

Out. Julian Torresan (gk) – 1 week loan expired).

Unavailable. Kristian Sarkies (knee – 1 week), Cassio (calf – 1 week), Daniel Beltrame (knee – season), Isyan Erdogan (hamstring – indefinite).

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 2. Jeremy CHRISTIE, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 4. Jon McKAIN, 5. Karl DODD, 7. Leo BERTOS, 9. Shane SMELTZ, 10. Michael FERRANTE, 11. DANIEL, 12. Richard JOHNSON, 13. Troy HEARFIELD, 15. Adam KWASNIK, 16. David MULLIGAN, 20. Glen MOSS (gk), 21. Leilei GAO, 22. Andrew DURANTE (captain).
* one to be omitted.

In. 7. Leo BERTOS (return from injury), 16. David MULLIGAN (promoted), 21. Leilei GAO (return from injury).

Out. 8. Vaughan COVENY, 25. Manny MUSCAT (omitted).

Unavailable. Vince LIA (knee – season)