A more assertive Adelaide United FC will look to force the issue as it attempts to topple the previously undefeated Wellington Phoenix at Hindmarsh Stadium on Saturday, according to coach John Kosmina.
Disappointed with the Reds’ level of competiveness against Melbourne Victory last Friday night, Kosmina has not hidden his plan to take it right up to Phoenix, the only team without a loss after the opening three rounds of the season.
“I think we need to be a little bit more aggressive and we discussed that after the Melbourne game last week,” Kosmina said.
“We’re at home, we should be aggressive, and that’s not trying to bash anybody up - you’ve got to be competitive, which is probably a better word, or assertive.”
The clearest indication of the Reds’ attacking state of mind is the reinstatement of striker Sergio van Dijk into the starting line-up to complement Argentinean Jeronimo Neumann.
Defender Iain Fyfe is another to be recalled against Phoenix for his first start of the season at the expense of the rested Nigel Boogaard.
Marcelo Carrusca is also expected to be promoted from the bench to make his run-on debut as Kosmina delves into his arsenal to try and force the issue at home against the travelling Phoenix, which has proved a difficult side to crack.
“Looking at the type of team that Wellington is - and this gets back to what we’ve discussed in the past few weeks about the versatility and the options that we have in the group in terms of how we can go about our business - we need strike power, and we need physical strike power,” Kosmina said.
“They (Wellington) played ok against Brisbane last week and had them on the ropes for awhile, and they make it difficult … they’re well organised, they’re disciplined, they’re good competitors and they can play football, so they’ve got a mix of everything and are a tough team to play against.”
On returning from Melbourne after another unsuccessful attempt to win at Etihad Stadium, Kosmina also reinforced the importance of again turning Hindmarsh Stadium into an intimidating place that opposition teams fear to visit, and urged Reds supporters to come out in their droves to help make it happen.
“Melbourne (Victory) is a tough team to play at Etihad Stadium … and Hindmarsh needs to be like that as well,” he said.
A further reason for a big crowd at the club’s second home game of the season is to celebrate and acknowledge Cassio’s 100th A-League appearance.
“He (Cassio) is part of the fabric of this club and the culture it has, and I guess it’s important that it is recognised by the club, by his team-mates and also the football community here in Adelaide as well,” Kosmina said.
Sydney FC confirmed the signing of A-League championship winning defender Pedj Bojic for two years and Brazilian centre half Tiago Calvano for next season.