The rivalry between these two sides needs no extra spice, but it has it in the form of Victory marquee Marcos Flores facing his former side for the first time in the A-League
|By WILLIAM VALLELY
Foschini, Milligan, Leijer, Traore
Bru, Finkler, BroxhamRojas, Flores, Thompson
Bowles, Golec, Boogaard, Cassio
Watson, Malik, RamsayVidosic, Neumann, Ferreira
Traditionally a big game between two of the A-League's most competitive clubs, the game at Docklands on Friday takes on extra significance when it pits Victory off-season signing Marcos Flores against former club Adelaide United.
Flores spent the 2010-11 season with the Reds - winning the Johnny Warren Medal in the process - and attempted to talk down the importance of him lining up against ex-teammates during the week, preferring to focus on dragging his team out of their slump.
While the spotlight will invariably be on Flores, Victory coach Ange Postecoglu will have a wary eye on his defensive structure.
Victory's porous defence - conceding seven goals in the opening two A-League games - is a real cause for concern for the hosts' fans.
The return of defensive stalwart Mark Milligan from international duty with the Socceroos will provide welcome relief for Postecoglou, whose makeshift centre-back partnership of Foschini and Leijer was found wanting against the pace and precision of Brisbane's forward line last Saturday.
Danny Allsopp has played his last game for Victory, having announced his retirement from the game on Thursday.
Victory's defence face another stern test on Friday, with Dario Vidosic and Iain Ramsay expected to support Argentine Jeronimo Neumann in United's search for goals.
Sergio van Dijk has not recovered from a calf injury that ruled him out of the first two games of the season, while Bruce Djite - goalless this season - has been omitted and not travelled.
Adelaide are quietly compiling a superb, if not spectacular, start to the season and, even with the expected Victory backlash, they will want to leave Melbourne with points to consolidate their top-of-the-table position.
Despite the expected return of Archie Thompson and Marco Rojas from international duty, the game will be decided by Victory’s defensive display.
The Reds' experiences in the AFC Champions league have hardened their defensive resolve away from home.
And having successfully faced a raucous home crowd at Hunter Stadium for the debut of Newcastle Jets marquee Emile Heskey in Week 1, they will be confident of repeating the feat.