The New Zealanders were given the bye in Round 1 so got to sit back and watch what the other 10 teams are up to early in the season and they will go into the Gold Coast meeting knowing a bit more about their opponents.
United were outplayed by an impressive Brisbane Roar outfit last week and were very lucky not to kick off the season with a loss and it is a Kiwi that they have to thank in Glen Moss who was magnificent in goals in his first match for the club.
Miron Bleiberg admitted his side was down but surely has plans to improve the attack which is led by another New Zealander in Shane Smeltz who is capable of winning the match off his own boot.
But the Phoenix will know what to expect and go in with a full squad of players to choose from bar the injured Diego and off-season recruit Jade North who is returning from international duty with Australia in Slovenia.
Ricki Herbert will have his men ready and raring to go and I expect the Phoenix to carve out a narrow win in front of a healthy crowd at Westpac Stadium.
Verdict: Wellington 1-0.
Wellington Phoenix v Gold Coast United
Date: Friday, 13 August, 2010
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Local kick-off: 7.30pm (5.30pm AEST)
Head-to-Head: All matches (played 3): Wellington Phoenix wins 2, Gold Coast United wins 0 (1 draw)
Referee: Peter O’Leary
Wellington Phoenix squad: 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 2. Manny MUSCAT, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 6. Tim BROWN, 7. Leo BERTOS, 8. Paul IFILL, 9. Chris GREENACRE, 10. Oscar Roberto CORNEJO, 11. DANIEL, 13. Troy HEARFIELD, 14. Mirjan PAVLOVIC, 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 20. Reece CROWTHER (gk), 21. Marco ROJAS, 22. Andrew DURANTE (c), 23. Dylan MACALLISTER *two to be omitted*
Unavailable: 5. Diego WALSH (knee – 4 weeks), 15. Jade NORTH (international duty)
Gold Coast United Squad: 1.Glen MOSS (gk), 2.Steve PANTELIDIS, 3.Michael THWAITE, 5.ROBSON, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Zenon CARAVELLA, 8.ANDERSON, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 10.Jason CULINA (c), 13.Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 14.Joel PORTER, 15.Tahj MINNIECON, 16.Kristian REES, 18.James BROWN, 20.Scott HIGGINS (gk), 21.Golgol MEBRAHTU, 22.Adama TRAORE, 24.John CURTIS *three to be omitted*
In: 8.ANDERSON, 18.James BROWN, 24.John CURTIS
Unavailable: Daniel PIORKOWSKI (ankle injury – 4 weeks), Matt OSMAN (knee injury – indefinite)