The always tricky trip to Victoria to tackle Melbourne City is next on the agenda for Canberra United as they prepare for Round 2 of the Liberty A-League and a visit to AAMI Park on Saturday afternoon.
United have only ever won once on five trips to play City away from home, collecting just four points from a possible fifteen, whilst the team have managed just ten points from a potential thirty-nine in matches against City over all-time.
And yet, the power that Canberra showed in attack last weekend, during the madcap 4-4 draw with Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium, suggest that this team possess the firepower and creativity to cause issues for any team in the competition.
Conversely, the concession of four goals will have Head Coach Njegosh Popovich and his team pondering how to become more solid at the other end, a pitfall of course of introducing three new faces into the back four as Tegan Bertolissio, Alex McKenzie, and Cannon Clough were selected alongside Emma Ilijoski,
That trio were half of six new faces that made their Canberra United debut in South Australia, Mary Stanic-Floody being offered a first start of the season, whilst Kiwi duo Ruby Nathan, and Deven Jackson, were brought on as second-half substitutes.
Meanwhile, a goal from Hannah Wilkinson got City off to a winning start last weekend as they made the hop over the Tasman Sea and returned from their visit to Wellington with the three points following a 1-0 success over Phoenix.
The last time that Canberra visited Melbourne to meet City was in the final regular season game of the 2022/23 season where both teams were vying for a place in the top-four. What ensued was a thrilling six-goal stalemate, the 3-3 result being enough for City, but seeing United agonisingly fall short on goal difference.
A second consecutive away day will heap more travel on the team but will offer the squad the opportunity to set down a marker. The positives more than outweighed the negatives from the 4-4 epic in Round 1, and Popovich and his team have been working hard all week to tighten up early season rustiness.
Expect a stern test from an always strong Melbourne City, however a United team buoyed with self-belief and the indomitable spirit that flows through the club, will head to Victoria with more than hope in their hearts.
Saturday 21 October 2023
Melbourne City v Canberra United
(AAMI Park, 14:45)
LIVE ON PARAMOUNT+ / 10PLAY