Round 10 Match Preview: Adelaide United vs. Brisbane Roar

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Brisbane’s four game road trip throughout December with a trip to Adelaide to take on one of the competitions better sides from the opening third of the season. These two sides have already played two competitive games this season, the first of which came in the FFA Cup when Brisbane sent an under strength side down to Adelaide, and goals either side of half time were enough to send the Reds through to the Quarter Finals. In the first league meeting between these two sides saw the visiting Adelaide take the initiative on the road, coming from a goal behind to start the season with a win.

It’s been another busy week around the place, with the departure of captain Matt Smith to Thai Premier League side Bangkok Glass front and centre. Smith is scheduled to make his final appearance for Brisbane tonight, however it’s unlikely to be one to remember as Brisbane manager Frans Thijssen has indicated he will have to be content with a spot on the bench. If the transfer of the club captain didn’t make it a busy enough week, yesterday Brisbane also learned it’s fate in next season’s AFC Champions League- where they will face Korean FA Cup winner Suwon Bluewings, a yet to be determined Japanese side –either Urawa Red Diamonds or Montedio Yamagata- and a qualifier- likely to be either Beijing Guo’an or Matt Smith’s new side Bangkok Glass.

Onto this game however and it figures to be a case where both sides will be trying to play a similar style of game. Josep Gombau’s Reds side have brought in a lot of the same elements that the successful Brisbane sides have had over the past seasons, while Frans Thijssen has been given the task of bringing that same style and flair back to Brisbane. With that in mind, ball possession will be a massive key to the game, as both sides will look to be patient and probe for the best opportunity going forward, while also looking to play the ball out from the back. Whichever team executes those things the best, and navigates the other sides defensive press the best is likely to come away with the points.

With Thomas Broich, Shane Stefanutto, Michael Theo, Jack Hingert and George Lambadaridis all out injured this weekend, Thijssen is limited in the changes that he can make right now. It does however give those in the team currently a fantastic chance to impress the new manager and cement their spot in the side. As far as Adelaide goes, it’s almost the total opposite with Josep Gombau having almost his entire first team squad available for selection. Only Osama Malik and Cassio would be seriously considered any chance of being involved in the fixture for this game if they were fit. Youngsters Paul Izzo and Jordan Elsey are also out for the Reds.

As far as selection goes; with Smith deciding to move on, new Brisbane manager Frans Thijssen has decided the future starts tonight with James Donachie set to partner Jade North in the centre of defence. It’s certainly a bold move, and a sign that Thijssen is putting his stamp on this team, but while it’s no doubt harsh not to give Smith a farewell appearance I think it’s a good move. Sooner or later James Donachie is going to have to get a regular run of games at the centre of defence so he can grow as a player, and if tonight’s the night that starts, I look forward to seeing how he does. The rest of the squad figures to be unchanged, with no changes to the game day squad of 16. Adam Sarota probably isn’t ready to start a game at this point, however I think there’s a chance that Jean Carlos Solórzano could come into the side upfront in place of Kurtishi.

Expected Brisbane XI: Young, Bowles, North, Donachie, Brown, Petratos, Brattan, McKay, Borrello, Solórzano, Henrique.
Substitutes: Acton, Smith, Lustica, Sarota, Kurtishi

From Adelaide’s perspective it’s likely to be a case of the same starting XI that dismantled a 10 man Western Sydney side last Saturday evening, playing some tremendous football along the way. They do have the FFA Cup final against Perth on Tuesday evening to factor in, however there’s enough time between the two games that Gombau should be able to select his best available side in both games. The most likely change to be made, should there be one, would be for youngster Awer Mabil to come into the side in place of Fabio Ferreira.

Expected Adelaide XI: Galekovic, Elrich, Boogaard, McGowan, Goodwin, Isaias, Jeggo, Carrusca, Mabil, Ferreira, Cirio, Djite.
Substitutes: Hall, Marrone, Watson, Mabil, Sanchez.
Omitted: Kamau, Konstandopoulos.

This season:
FFA Cup Round of 16: Adelaide United (Djite 35’, Cirio 47’) 2-0 Brisbane Roar Round 1: Brisbane (Broich 30’) 1-2 Adelaide United (Djite 33’, O.G- Donachie 56’).

All-time record against Adelaide United:

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Elsewhere this weekend, the National Youth League side are at home to Newcastle Jets this Sunday morning, and will be looking to close the gap on leaders Perth Glory. Currently Brisbane sits third on 16 points, with Perth leading the competition on 19 points, with Melbourne City in second- also on 16 points. Kick-off in Sunday’s NYL game from  10.00am at Dunmore Park, Toowong.

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