With just three matches remaining in the regular season Adelaide United can move one step closer to breaking its finals drought with a win over Wellington Phoenix on Thursday night.
The Reds come into the clash in rampant form after their 8-2 thrashing of Brisbane Roar last weekend, while Wellington won its first game in its history courtesy of a 3-0 triumph.
The two teams met less than a month ago with Adelaide prevailing 1-0 in a tight contest at Coopers Stadium.
Three points for the Reds ahead of matches against reigning champions Melbourne Victory and premiers-elect Sydney FC will allow the pressure to be eased marginally.
That is because fifth-placed Perth Glory, who currently trail Adelaide by three points, still have to play both of those teams along with the Phoenix.
Adrian Stenta almost has a full squad available for the clash. However, Paige Hayward remains after sustaining a knock against Perth Glory, while Emily Condon has a leg issue and will not make the trip to New South Wales.
What the expert says
Teo Pellizzeri: Both teams are flying high after Adelaide dazzled putting eight goals past Brisbane and Wellington broke through emphatically for a first win of the season, 3-0 against Canberra. It means both teams come into the game with as much momentum and confidence as any game this season.
One to watch
Teo Pellizzeri: Even before scoring five goals in a game, equaling the A-League Women’s record, Fiona Worts was having a stand-out season in categories like scoring chances created, and winning back possession in the attacking half. It shows just how complete a forward the 26-year-old is.
Teo Pellizzeri: Wellington’s Young Player of the Year nominee for January Alyssa Whinham has continued her excellent form into February and was again pulling the strings in midfield for Wellington’s win against Canberra. It’s going to take a collaborative effort from Adelaide’s midfield, be it Dylan Holmes, Nanako Sasaki or Emily Condon, to starve Whinham of space and pressure her when on the ball.
One changed you’d like to see
Teo Pellizzeri: It’s hard to envisage either side will make a change after recording such strong results last game. However, one player likely to miss through injury is Paige Hayward, who did score the only goal last time Adelaide played Wellington.
1-0 win (H)
Teo Pellizzeri: The last meeting was a cagey 1-0 at Coopers Stadium with Adelaide not breaking through until midway through the second half. Given Wellington has found an extra gear as an attacking threat since, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a totally different game, and a scoreline like Adelaide winning 4-2 or 5-2.
Thursday, 17 February vs Wellington Phoenix
Liberty A-League 2021/22 – Matchweek 13
Kick-off 4.35pm ACDT
Venue: Moreton Daily Stadium
Broadcast: 10 Bold