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Talking points preview: City vs Wellington Phoenix

After a two-week turnaround since our last Australia Cup outing, Melbourne City will take on a strengthened Wellington Phoenix side at Casey Fields tomorrow night in our inaugural competitive match at our new home in Cranbourne.

Early days in this pre-season, City has struggled both in the midfield and scoring departments, resulting in hard-fought wins against Dandenong Thunder in a friendly, then in the Round of 32 against Newcastle Olympic. For the first time this season we face up against professional opposition, and must improve or risk being knocked out of the Cup early.

The boys left a lot to be desired against Newcastle Olympic, coming out the other side with a clean sheet but multiple questions to be answered. Will there be more signings? Will Tom Glover keep his spot? Who will provide the attacking flair?

Our last outing against Wellington saw us take home the Premiers Plate. However, with our Cup run on the line, here are three things to watch out for ahead of tomorrow night:

Ready for the Round of 16 - Source: Melbourne City FC

Battle of the visas

Our most highly anticipated signing, Richard van der Venne, is yet to take the field this pre-season. While it is important to ensure van der Venne is injury free before the start of the A-League Men’s season, our midfield has taken a significant hit over the off-season.

With Rostyn Griffiths signing for ‘sister club’ Mumbai City, and Connor Metcalfe plying his trade in Germany, we’re left with a midfield lacking in quality and depth. With the introduction of van der Venne and return of Aidan O’Neill, we will be looking much stronger. Maybe Wednesday we will see what our new visa signing has to offer?

On the other side, Wellington have two new foreign signings: Bozhidar Kraev, who scored against Devonport in the Round of 32, and Yan Sasse who signed this month. They will be looking to unleash their talent against the reigning Premiers.

It goes without saying that our fans crave more signings. With the international connections our club flaunts, we should certainly be taking a greater advantage of the marquee and designated player spots.

Only time will tell. For now, let’s hope to see our new Dutchman in action.

Super-sub wanted

There has been great success out of the City academy as of late, and that trend does not seem to be slowing down any time soon. Exciting talents have made themselves known to City fans lately, such as Luke Oresti whose goal against Newcastle Olympic saw us through to the Round of 16 of the Australia Cup.

Celebrations after Luke Oresti's goal against Newcastle Olympic - Source: Melbourne City FC

Max Caputo is another fantastic prospect who has consistently scored goals with our NPL side and also struck against Dandenong Thunder in July.

With Stefan Colakovski off to Perth Glory, there is a ‘super-sub’ role up for grabs within the City squad this season. Who will impress? Will it be Caputo, Oresti, or even new scholarship midfielder Emin Durakovic, a well-measured playmaker with an eye for goal?

With a massive challenge ahead in the Phoenix, our academy prospects must prove their worth and put in a shift in front of the City faithful.

Down the M1 we go!

Playing out of our new home in the City of Casey is a huge step forward in the progression of our club. I’ve lived in and around the South East for eight years, so the ability to see my club play around the corner from home is a dream come true.

The pure engagement with the community is so important as the South East has seemingly limitless potential in terms of fans and emerging talent. Between the choice of playing out of a near-empty AAMI Park and a community ground we are trying to connect with, it was a no-brainer.

Community will be in great spirit come Wednesday night, and hopefully we’ll see plenty of supporters from other areas of Melbourne make the trip down the Monash Freeway to come see the boys play out of our new home.


This is a huge moment to really spark our season. There is no better way to kick into gear than a massive win - at home - against A-League opposition. Expectations certainly have not dwindled since our loss to Western United in May as we look to take home more silverware in the 2022-23 season.

Let’s push on for our City. Go on lads.

Score Prediction: 3-2 City

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