Adelaide United Youth heads west in its bid to qualify for consecutive National Youth League Grand Finals when it comes up against Perth Glory Youth on Sunday afternoon at Clipsal Stadium in the second semi final.
After finishing third at the end of the minor round, the Young Reds have the challenge of trying to defeat the second placed Glory in Perth for a spot in the season decider. The travelling Reds have reason to be confident heading into the clash, having only tasted defeat once in their past nine outings, although that solitary loss was against the opponents they meet on Sunday.
The ledger is all square between the sides in their three previous meetings this season, with the points shared in Round 5 before the Reds secured a 2-1 win in Round 15, only to go down to the Glory on February 21.
United’s Youth will be buoyed by the return of Head Coach Joe Mullen to the sideline, after the Reds Youth boss missed last Sunday’s draw with Gold Coast United having been away in China for AFC Champions League commitments with the senior team.
United’s Youth will feel confident that they have the firepower to find the back of the net against Perth after scoring the second highest number of goals of any club during the season.
Striker Francesco Monterosso, who took out his second National Youth League leading goal scorer accolade, will be hoping he can again contribute to United’s cause on the score sheet, the young Reds with no shortage of strike power up front with the likes of Evan Kostopoulos and Hyundai A-League marksman Lloyd Owusu also posing serious threats.
Arguably the main test for United’s Youth in booking a place in the Grand Final will be if they can keep their concentration for the full 90 minutes, particularly defensively.
More often than not the young Reds have conceded a late goal, which was the case in Perth’s last win over United, and Mullen will be sure to drill into his charges the importance of playing right up until the final whistle against a Glory team that will be determined to rebound after last week’s loss to the Newcastle Jets.
Mullen has stated since he took on the United Youth coaching job that the National Youth League is all about developing and nurturing players into the professional environment of the Hyundai A-League, and a cut throat semi final is no better opportunity for the young Reds squad to see how far they have come. Kick-Off is at 5.30pm (ACDT).
The other semi final sees the Central Coast Mariners host the Gold Coast United, with the winners of the two semi finals to meet in the National Youth League Grand Final on March 20.
National Youth League 2009/10 Season – Semi Final
Perth Glory Youth v Adelaide United Youth
Sunday 14 March 2010, Clipsal Stadium, Perth
Kick-Off: 3.00pm AWST (5.30pm ACDT)
Referee: Kurt Ams
Adelaide United Youth squad: Joel ALLWRIGHT, Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), Andrew CIARLA, Michael DOYLE, Kingsley FRANCIS, Evan KOSTOPOULOS, Codey LARKIN (gk), Dane MILOVANOVIC, Perry MITRIS, Francesco MONTEROSSO, Matthew MULLEN (c), Nick MUNRO (gk), Brett RAYNER, Inseob SHIN, Alex SUNASKY, Liam WOODING, Joe WRIGHT, Lloyd OWUSU (OA)
*three to be omitted*
Unavailable: Nathan FARRELL (ankle – season)
Perth Glory Youth squad: Tommy AMPHLETT, Ludovic BOI, Tim DOYLE (gk), Hayden DOYLE, Dean EVANS, Howard FONDYKE, Hanafi GHAZALI, Steve HESKETH (c), Mario MARCINKO, Sam MITCHINSON, Sebit OYET, Alex PEARSON (gk), Ryan PEARSON, Joshua RISDON, Glen TRIFIRO, Reece VITTIGLIA, Steve WALMSLEY
*two to be omitted*
Unavailable: Million BUTSHIIRE (knee – 1 week), Cameron EDWARDS (foot – 10 weeks), Brent GRIFFTHS (hamstring – 3 weeks), Andrija JUKIC (groin – indefinite), Anthony SKORICH (foot – indefinite)