Preview: Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar

Melbourne Victory host Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park this Sunday, with two-time Victory championship winning goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos to face off against his old side. Check out the match preview.

Date: Sunday September 12
Kick-off: 3:00pm AEST
Venue: AAMI Park

Played 15: Wins: Melbourne Victory 9, Brisbane Roar 4, Draws: 2

Previous Meeting
Brisbane Roar 0, Melbourne Victory 1, Suncorp Stadium, Novemebr 2009

Why we don-t like ’em
Melbourne Victory have not lost to Brisbane since September 2008, a run of six A-League matches which includes five Melbourne wins. The one draw, in August last year at Etihad Stadium, was the most memorable of the recent encounters between the two teams. Brisbane took an early 2-0 lead and then led 3-1 at half time before Carlos Hernandez inspired Melbourne to a 3-3 result which included two of the best goals you have ever seen.

Season so far:
Melbourne Victory
R5: Central Coast Mariners 2, Melbourne Victory 0, Bluetongue Stadium
R4: Gold Coast United 0, Melbourne Victory 1, Skilled Park
R3: Melbourne Victory 2, North Queensland Fury 2, AAMI Park
R2: Melbourne Victory 0, Perth Glory 2, AAMI Park
R1: Sydney FC 3, Melbourne Victory 3, SFS

Brisbane Roar:
R5: Newcastle Jets 0, Brisbane Roar 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium
R4: Brisbane Roar 1, Wellington Phoenix, Suncorp Stadium
R3: Brisbane Roar 1, Sydney FC 0, Suncorp Stadium
R1: Gold Coast United 0, Brisbane Roar 0, Skilled Park

Decisions for Ernie
Ricardinho is set to make his first start for Melbourne in this match after coming off the bench last week. The word from the club is that he will not push either Robbie Kruse or Mate Dugandzic out with Ernie Merrick to reprise the ‘four hooligans’ approach he took into early games last season. It will mean a change in approach in midfield, with Tom Pondeljak perhaps the most likely to make way.

Behind Enemy Lines
Brisbane will bring close to a full-strength squad to Melbourne, with Ange Postecoglou naming Matt Mundy, Rocky Visconte and Luke Brattan in an extended squad.

Our Hero
Ricardinho – After having a little taste of what the A-League has to offer, the Brazilian will be ready to fire in his home debut this week. All at the club are talking Ricardinho’s skill and pace up and there is a real sense he could be something special.

Danger man
Michael Theoklitos – Remember Theo, Melbourne two-time championship-winning stopper who headed off overseas for bigger and better things. Well he’s back, this time in a Roar top and he’s in super form having not conceded a goal in four appearances. It would be nice to be the first team to break down the Theo-wall this season.

Why we will win
Last week’s loss to the Mariners should have been a wake-up call to the boys. Dominating games is not good enough, we must start putting the ball in the back of the net. The defence is clearly fired up, with Rody Vargas calling on his team-mates to lift early in this week, while Ricardinho should add some sharpness and experience in attack.

Roar have a few speedy midfielders to rely upon and Matt McKay has been in excellent form this season. If Victory’s midfield can stop supply through him, then the match will go a long way to being won. They don-t score a lot of goals, giving Merrick the confidence to push more men forward and that should hopefully yield another win.

Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (c), 3.Mate DUGANDZIC, 5. Surat SUKHA, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9.RICARDINHO, 11.Marvin ANGULO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 13.Diogo FERREIRA, 14. Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17.Matthew FOSCHINI, 19. Evan BERGER, 20.Sebastian MATTEI (gk), 21.Robbie KRUSE, 23.Adrian LEIJER, 27. Geoff KELLAWAY
*4 to be omitted*

In: Nil
Out: Nil
Unavailable: Archie THOMPSON (knee), Matthew KEMP (knee)

Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH, 3. Luke DEVERE, 4. Shane STEFANUTTO, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 9. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 10. HENRIQUE, 11. REINALDO, 12. Matt MUNDY, 14. Rocky VICSCONTE, 15. Matt McKAY (c), 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 20. Andrew REDMAYNE, 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Milan SUSAK
*three to be omitted*

In: 12. Matt MUNDY (promoted), 14. Rocky VISCONTE (promoted), 18. Luke BRATTAN (returns from illness)
Out: Nil
Unavailable: 5. Ivan FRANJIC (quad strain – 1-2 weeks)