Match Preview Round 19 v Adelaide United


The Wanderers leapfrogged Adelaide on the table last weekend thanks to their gutsy 1-0 win over Melbourne Heart despite playing more than 75 minutes of the match with 10-men.

Kick-off: 5pm AEDT, 4.30pm local
Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide

Played: 2 – Wins: Adelaide 1, Wanderers 1

Previous encounter:
Wanderers 6-1 Adelaide, December 21, 2012

Past five matches:
Wanderers: WLWWW

The Game:
It’s been a week of accusations, name-calling and outright drama at Adelaide in the build-up to this one after coach John Kosmina quit the club and right-hand man Michael Valkanis filled the breach.

The former Reds defender faces a tricky first-up task. Not only are his side heading in the wrong direction on the ladder on the back of a two-game losing streak and facing a dilemma on the selection front, but the Reds also welcome the in-form side of the completion to Hindmarsh.

The Wanderers leapfrogged Adelaide on the table last weekend thanks to their gutsy 1-0 win over Melbourne Heart despite playing more than 75 minutes of the match with 10-men.

Tony Popovic’s side will be without right-back Jerome Polenz after his red card against the Heart with Shannon Cole, Tarek Elrich and Iacopo La Rocca all possibilities to take the spot. Adelaide have a crisis in attack with Jeronimo Neumann (suspended) joining the injured Bruce Djite on the sidelines.

Socceroos midfielder Dario Vidosic is favoured to lead the line for the Reds after being used in that role late in the loss to Central Coast last weekend. The two sides have a win apiece in their two meetings this season but the Wanderers ran riot the last time they played, winning 6-1 at Parramatta Stadium.

The Big Issue:
Adelaide- It looked like a sensational season and certain top-two finish just a few weeks ago but there’s suddenly an air of uncertainty surrounding just what the rest of the campaign holds for the Reds. The players will need to move on quickly from Kosmina’s walk-out if they are to head into the finals with momentum. The club’s strong start to the campaign means they are almost certain to finish somewhere in the top six but unless they can lift the mood and improve results in coming weeks, Adelaide will just be making up the numbers once they get there.

Western Sydney – Popovic is unlikely to let it happen but given how well the Hyundai A-League’s newcomers have been performing and with their finals berth all but secure, there is a danger the Wanderers squad could start to take their foot off the gas. The side has built their season on full-on commitment and effort and if they let that intensity drop at all it could affect their performances.

The Game Breaker:
Dario Vidosic – The Qantas Socceroos midfielder has been one of Adelaide’s most consistent players this season and the Reds will need him to be at his best on Sunday. Vidosic looks like he will be asked to lead the attack in this match and just how he handles the new role will go a long way to determine his side’s hopes. It won’t be easy for the 25-year-old up against Michael Beauchamp and Nikolai Topor-Stanley but Vidosic certainly has the skill, pace and quality to cause a few problems.

Prediction: Adelaide 1-2 Western Sydney
It’s hard to know what type of Adelaide we’re going to see this weekend, with how they recover from Kosmina’s resignation a huge factor in the side’s performance and result. Valkanis has been there since the start of the season so you would assume the transition will be as smooth as possible, but the drama is sure to still be in the back of the players’ minds. The Reds will also have revenge on their minds following their heavy 6-1 drubbing at the hands of the Wanderers before Christmas but with Adelaide’s lack of firepower in attack, there’s no reason why the visitors won’t continue on their sensational run.