Western United will go interstate for the first time in the 2022/23 Isuzu UTE A-League Men season, travelling across the border to take on Central Coast Mariners on Saturday.
Central Coast Mariners vs Western United
Saturday, 29 October
Kick-off: 5:15pm AEDT
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on Paramount+
John Aloisi has named his extended 20-man squad for the trip, with the sole inclusion being young midfielder Rhys Bozinovski.
The 18-year-old has been away from the Club recently having taken part in two separate Young Socceroos camps but is now ready to return to action with Western United.
Bozinovski will hope to add to his four Isuzu UTE A-League appearances to date, while fellow youngster Jake Najdovski makes way in the extended list.
Western United squad: 1. Jamie YOUNG (gk), 4. Leo LACROIX, 5. Dylan PIERIAS, 8. Lachlan WALES, 9. Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 10. Steven LUSTICA, 11. Connor PAIN, , 17. Ben GARUCCIO, 19. Joshua RISDON, 21. Sebastian PASQUALI, 23. Alessandro DIAMANTI (c) 26. Nicolas MILANOVIC, 27. Jacob TRATT, 31. Adisu Bayew 33. Ben COLLINS, 37. Ryan SCOTT (gk), 38. Noah BOTIC, 42. Rhys BOZINOVSKI, 44. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 88. Neil KILKENNY
Last time out
United put in its best performance of the season last time out but just couldn’t turn the dominance into three points, settling for a 1-1 draw against Macarthur FC.
With 62% of possession and 21 shots, United was assured in and out of possession but was unable to add to Lachie Wales’ 69th minute equaliser.
Goalmouth action is a near certainty when these two teams meet, with an average of 3.13 goals scored per game across the eight meetings.
The Mariners narrowly lead the head-to-head battle with four wins to United’s three, while the sides have drawn on one occasion.
United will be hoping to break its duck in Gosford, with the Mariners claiming the win each time the Green and Black has travelled to Central Coast Stadium.
Key Matchup: Neil Kilkenny vs Joshua Nisbet
Neil Kilkenny has been in fine form for Western United so far this season, leading the side in both attempted and completed passes.
The No.88 has been instrumental in helping United win the possession battle in all three matches so far and will look to control the midfield again up against Central Coast’s Joshua Nisbet.
Like Kilkenny, Nisbet has so far been Central Coast’s most involved midfielder and will be pivotal in his side’s attempts to build periods of possession.
Kilkenny has been equally impressive defensively as he leads the league in interceptions, and he will be hoping to win the midfield battle again and set his team up to go for victory.
Player to Watch: Josh Risdon
Josh Risdon has had one of the best starts to a season of his entire career with three buccaneering performances at right-back.
Risdon was particularly exceptional going forward against Macarthur, accompanying his defensive attributes with an assist and a number of shots on goal.
United’s vice-captain has carried on from an outstanding 2021/22 season, maintaining a strong run of fitness and looking to continue this momentum heading into the rest of the campaign.
Words from John Aloisi
On the prospect of facing World Cup hopefuls Jason Cummings and Garang Kuol
“Cummings is a top playe, we know what he can do. His left foot, he links up really well, he comes in late into the box because he’s linking up, and Kuol we know the impact he can make when he comes in.
“They also have the other boys up top that cause a lot of problems, Sam Silvera is one that has scored a couple of goals already. We have to be aware of all their threats.”
On Josh Risdon’s early-season form
“Josh has been playing really well with the ball, and we know what he’s capable of doing without the ball.
“Heading into a World Cup selection, you’re thinking the national team coach will select who’s in the best form, and if that’s the case I think Josh has got a good opportunity of getting to another World Cup.”
Words from the playing squad – Neil Kilkenny
On how he is finding playing in midfield with United holding more possession
“I enjoy having the ball more to dominate possession, but ultimately football is about winning games. We know that in ourselves, and hopefully we can get the three points against the Mariners.”
On how he is feeling after a strong beginning to the campaign
“I love the game, I love playing football. My body is feeling really good. I’m really enjoying it, obviously it could be a bit better with the results, but performance-wise on a personal note and as a team, we’ve definitely been doing well this season.”