Amber Brooks believes Adelaide United must improve defensively when they host fierce rivals Melbourne Victory at Marden Sports Complex on Friday night.
The Reds suffered their first loss of the season after a 5-2 defeat to Sydney FC last week, and slipped to fifth place on the table.
And facing the pace-setters in Melbourne, Brooks insisted United will need to be resolute in defence.
“Obviously we let double the goals in, in that game as we had all season,” Brooks said.
“So certainly tightening things up at the back, I think we can’t allow teams to have so many opportunities.
“Sydney just had so many chances and with a quality side they and all the teams have, the more opportunities you give up obviously the more chances they’ve to score.
“So I think just being better in our individual defending but also defending as an entire team.”
She added that retaining possession of the ball for longer will also release the pressure off the defence.
“We need to keep possession better and a lot of the goals we’re giving up are created from our mistakes, not necessarily the other team building up really well and scoring these fantastic goals,” she said.
“We’re giving the ball up in dangerous positions… So if we can be a bit more tidy on the ball that obviously helps on both sides with our attacking and having to defend less.”
Adelaide played out a 0-0 draw when the last time these two sides met in Round 1.
Brooks believed both teams have taken strides forward and said the key will be cutting the supply to influential duo Natasha Dowie and Emily Gielnik.
“Since that first round game both teams have very much improved,”
“They’ve got a very strong attack and midfield, and defence as well.
“So again I think it’s about limiting their opportunities, shutting down Natasha Dowie and (Emily) Gielnik up front and limiting their service.
“Can we get control of the midfield and limit the service from their internationals and then I think we’ve a very good attack especially in transition.
“So can we get the ball up to our forwards in dangerous positions and finish goals.”
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Brooks, on loan from National Women’s Soccer League outfit Houston Dash, has made a seamless transition, and one of the standout performers this season.
“I think I’ve gotten more and more comfortable each game,” she said.
“I think coming from the NWSL it’s similar in every game is a challenge and competitive.
“And in every game I’ve been going up against either a forward that’s in the NWSL or from their respective national teams.
“So there’s really no let down in the opponent from game to game and I think just focusing internally on my strengths and what I can do to help the team win.
“Partnering with Emma, she’s got a lot of experience in this league and I think we’re both very vocal and we’re competitive.
“We hate giving up goals and we hate losing and we’ve a good mentality between the two of us and it’s all about covering for one another in the back and I think we do that really well.”
Away from the pitch, the American revealed she is enjoying her time in Australia, specifically Adelaide.
“Adelaide really fits my personality,” she said.
“I like that it’s a bit slower paced, a smaller city, not much traffic, the weather’s been a little bit erratic but I’ve heard it’s about to set in and be really hot going forward.
“And I think my time in Houston most of the year has prepared me for that.
“Australian people have been nothing but friendly, and you can’t beat the beach being so close, so really enjoying my time here.”
Adelaide United host Melbourne Victory in Round 8 of the Westfield W-League 2018/19 season on Friday, 21 December at Marden Sports Complex. Kick-off is at 7.00pm ACDT. Gates open at 6.00pm.