Western United returns to Tasmania on Saturday, but this time in different surroundings as the Isuzu UTE A-League Men side takes on Sydney FC at North Hobart Oval.
Isuzu UTE A-League Men Round 13
Western United vs Sydney FC
Saturday, 21 January
Kick-off: 5:00pm AEDT
North Hobart Oval, Hobart
The headline team news for John Aloisi’s side is the return of James Troisi, with the No.14 having recovered from a calf problem that ruled him out of the last three fixtures.
Jacob Tratt comes out due to suspension and Ben Collins returns to the extended squad to add defensive cover in Tratt’s absence.
Western United squad: 1. Jamie YOUNG (gk), 4. Leo LACROIX, 5. Dylan PIERIAS, 6. Tomoki IMAI, 7. Tongo DOUMBIA, 8. Lachie WALES, 9. Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 11. Connor PAIN, 14. James TROISI, 19. Josh RISDON, 23. Alessandro DIAMANTI (c), 26. Nicolas MILANOVIC, 31. Adisu BAYEW, 33. Ben COLLINS, 37. Ryan SCOTT (gk) 38. Noah BOTIC, 42. Rhys BOZINOVSKI, 44. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 88. Neil KILKENNY, 99. Aleksandar PRIJOVIC
Last time out
Western United bounced back from the defeat to Melbourne City with a positive performance and a 1-1 draw against Newcastle Jets in Ballarat last weekend.
Lachie Wales’ stunner was cancelled out by a cracker of his own from Newcastle’s Daniel Stynes, seeing an entertaining game at Mars Stadium end deadlocked.
Western United has typically had a difficult record against Sydney FC, winning just two of the eight meetings so far.
One of those wins came last season thanks to an excellent Steven Lustica strike. The midfielder has made a habit of scoring against the Sky Blues, finding the net on three occasions against Sydney since he joined Western United.
Key Matchup: Josh Risdon vs Joe Lolley
Set to deputise at left-back again in Ben Garuccio’s absence, Josh Risdon will face a tricky test in coming up against Sydney’s Joe Lolley in the wide areas.
Risdon scored in the last meeting with Sydney FC and has had a fantastic season so far, benefitting from a run of fitness and consistent performances.
Lolley has scored four times so far this season and leads the league in total shots and shots per 90 minutes, so Risdon will need to wary of the Englishman cutting in from the right-wing and looking to shoot on his left foot.
Sydney’s No.10 scored against United in such a fashion back in Round 2, but Risdon will undoubtedly be keeping a close eye on him to ensure the feat isn’t repeated.
Player to Watch: Lachie Wales
Wales has developed a habit of scoring in Tasmania and after his superb effort last week, United’s No.8 will be looking to strike in the Apple Isle once again.
The winger scored with a lovely curling strike against Wellington Phoenix in 2021 before backing that up with one of the most memorable games of his career, where he scored his first career hat-trick in a 6-0 romp of Perth Glory last season.
The boy from Terrigal has made a home in Tasmania with his adopted Victorian club and will be eager to continue his goal-scoring run to help United to an important victory.
Words from John Aloisi
On playing a home match in a new city in Hobart
“It’s still our home game, we’re looking forward to having a big crowd. It’s exciting, I’ve never been to Hobart before but I know there’s a lot of football lovers here and we can’t wait to play in front of them for a double header, not only A-League Men but A-League Women as well. We’re really excited to be here.”