ALM Match Preview: Western United vs Wellington Phoenix

Leo Lacroix Western United

Western United returns to UTAS Stadium in Launceston with a crucial Isuzu UTE A-League Men clash against Wellington Phoenix on Friday night.

Match Details

Isuzu UTE A-League Men Round 17

Western United vs Wellington Phoenix

Friday, 17 February

Kick-off: 7:45pm AEDT

UTAS Stadium, Launceston

Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on Paramount+

Team News

John Aloisi has named an unchanged extended squad for this fixture as his side looks to get back to winning ways in Tasmania.

New signings Connor O’Toole and Michael Ruhs will both hope to feature again, but Ramy Najjarine will need slightly longer to be in position to make his debut for the Green and Black.

Noah Botic will be eying another start after scoring his first professional goal last week, as will the likes of Alessandro Diamanti, Lachie Wales and Dylan Pierias.

Western United squad: 1. Jamie YOUNG (gk), 4. Leo LACROIX, 5. Dylan PIERIAS, 6. Tomoki IMAI, 7. Tongo DOUMBIA, 8. Lachie WALES, 9. Michael RUHS, 11. Connor PAIN, 14. James TROISI, 19. Josh RISDON, 23. Alessandro DIAMANTI (c), 24. Connor O’TOOLE, 27. Jacob TRATT, 31. Adisu BAYEW, 33. Ben COLLINS, 37. Ryan SCOTT (gk) 38. Noah BOTIC, 42. Rhys BOZINOVSKI, 88. Neil KILKENNY, 99. Aleksandar PRIJOVIC

Full Western United squad

Last time out

United fell to a 3-2 defeat to Adelaide United last weekend despite a performance that merited much more from the game.

READ MORE: ALM Match Report: Western United 2-3 Adelaide United

The Green and Black was dominant throughout much of the opening hour and took a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Botic and Aleksandar Prijovic, but Adelaide staged a comeback to take all three points.

Previous Meetings

Western United and Wellington Phoenix have enjoyed many tight battles in the past, coming together in 10 league meetings and once more in the Australia Cup.

Wellington has had the better of the overall head-to-head record but United has broken its hoodoo against the New Zealand side of late, winning the last two fixtures in thrilling style – the first being a tightly-contested Elimination Final and the second a superb late comeback in Round 6 of this season.

Key Matchup: Leo Lacroix vs Oskar Zawada

Western United will need to tame Wellington’s Oskar Zawada to have any chance of taking what would be a crucial three points in this match.

Phoenix’s hitman has scored eight goals this season and is enjoying a particularly devastating run of form having scored for five games in a row before last week’s defeat to Macarthur FC.

Zawada will come up against Leo Lacroix at the back making for a tantalising matchup of height, strength and physicality.

Lacroix has been getting back closer to his best in recent weeks and could be set for another big performance at the back in the face of one of the competition’s most lethal finishers.

Player to Watch: Aleksandar Prijovic

At the other end of the pitch, Prijovic will be looking to stamp his authority on the match and pull his team to another important victory.

The Serbian striker turned in arguably his best performance of the season last time out, pressing relentlessly from the front and scoring a wonderful goal from just outside the penalty area.

United’s No.99 struck crucial goals in each of the last two wins against Wellington and will look to make it a treble against the opponents to set United up for a push towards the finals.

Words from John Aloisi

On the Club’s strong record in Tasmania

“There must be something in the air that helps us. It’s funny because there’s places or teams you play against where you feel you can get that win, and Tassie has been that for Western United.”

On the confidence of the team continuing to grow

“This is a good challenge for us, last year we were up near the top for most of the season and then went on to win it.

“I know last week we didn’t get the result, but the boys played really well. You can see the confidence is coming back, and normally the results will come.”