Kicking it at Coopers: Melbourne City ALW coach Rado Vidošić welcomes Coopers Stadium challenge

It’s not often that an opposition coach cheerily embraces the opportunity to take on Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium, but that’s what Melbourne City A-League Women (ALW) coach Rado Vidošić is doing ahead of his side’s clash with the Reds on Saturday.

Second on the ALW table heading into the weekend’s action, City notched their third win on the bounce in their last hitout with what, after a slow start, was an eventually straightforward 4-0 win over Wellington Phoenix.

Their first game back in action since a number of the squad returned positive COVID tests and they were forced to postpone their January 2 meeting with Newcastle Jets, City, as Vidošić is the first to admit, wasn’t at their best in the fixture but they didn’t need to be; the championship contenders underlying class and experience too much for a young Phoenix outfit.

“It was a weird sensation that we had,” he explained on Thursday. “The days leading in, the players not being able to train. And [with] COVID a lot of fear of will that escalate.

“I think we managed to put the game behind us now.”

A below standard performance, however, likely won’t be enough against United.

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The Reds have won both of their games in South Australia thus far in 2021-22 and last week secured their first road triumph when they travelled to the nation’s capital and downed Canberra United 3-1 thanks to goals from Dylan Holmes, Chelsea Dawber, and Fiona Worts. While their goal difference, short of a cataclysm striking City, won’t compare, a win in the first leg of Saturday’s United-City double-header would bring them equal on points with their foes.

In 2020-21, United won five of its six games staged in their home state, with their only loss a 1-0 loss to eventual champions Melbourne Victory. This erection of the Great Wall of South Australia was highlighted by their 3-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers in round 13, which was played in front of a standalone regular-season record crowd of 5,159 fans at Coopers Stadium.

Coopers, of course, is renowned for the home ground advantage that it traditionally gives its side but Vidošić nonetheless said he much preferred the opportunity to play at the venue as opposed to the Reds’ other home venue, Marden Sports Complex.

“I think the home ground advantage is when they play on their NPL field,” he said. “Because that field, the grass is not that good. It’s like a suburban field.

“Coming in playing in the big stadium, I think that is going to even it up for football teams because you know you can’t hide on that pitch. You know that if your first touch is not good you can’t blame anything else for your first touch.

“So, I think he’s gonna come up with you know who is technically better and who is better on the day.

“Absolutely [Vidošić would back his side to be technically better], I think every coach would say the same.

Rebekah Stott played her first full 90 minutes since returning from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in her side’s win over Wellington Phoenix.
Image Credit: Melbourne City

“We had a very good training session today. We will have a good training session tomorrow. And we are ready.”

Though she has returned to training, goalkeeper Sally James bout with COVID has set back her return from injury and will ensure veteran stalwart Melina Barbieri continues to add to her lengthy resume between the posts.

City will also be without teenage wunderkinds Winonah Heatley and Holly McNamara on Saturday; the duo was called up to Tony Gustavsson’s extended Matildas’ squad for a pre-Asian Cup camp in the UAE. There pair is now battling it out with Sydney FC’s Cortnee Vine and Canberra United’s Karly Roestbakken for the final two places amongst the squad’s allotted 23 players.

“It’s going to be a big problem when you lose two Matildas!” laughed Vidošić. “And [Adelaide], you know, they are blessed – they don’t lose anyone.

“You can see that [Dylan] Holmes, she’s now coming back from Hotel quarantine. In the first game she was trending up and now she can run out the 90 minutes so they will be better because of that. And we will be, we will feel a little bit weaker.

“But you know, I’m going to back my team and we’re going to back to strengthen our team. So a couple of other good girls get an opportunity to play and we’ll see how they go.

“Although we can’t replace [Heatley and McNamara] like for like, we’re going have to replace them with some other strengths.”

Enjoying Joey’s coverage of Australian sport? Your support helps keep it possible.
You’re seeing this advert because this is an unpaid, self-published piece.

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Header Image Credit: Melbourne City

3 thoughts on “Kicking it at Coopers: Melbourne City ALW coach Rado Vidošić welcomes Coopers Stadium challenge

  1. Pingback: City confronting ALM fixture crunch as more players test positive | JDL MEDIA

  2. Pingback: Hopkins urges Victory ALW side to seize their opportunities ahead of Wanderer visit | JDL MEDIA

  3. Pingback: Barbieri continuing to lead Melbourne City’s ALW side on and off the park | JDL MEDIA

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