No Lacroix no problems as Western United claim another three points

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Western United continued their strong start to the season with a comfortable 1-0 win against Brisbane Roar on Saturday’s twilight kickoff.

The score line certainly didn’t flatter the home side as they had six times as many shots on target (6-1) and can count themselves unlucky to not have put at least two or three past Roar keeper Macklin Freke.

All this was despite international signings – Rene Khrin and Aleksandar Prijovic – missing yet another game.

To make things even tougher, November’s PFA player of the month Leo Lacroix was ruled out because of a knock suffered during last week’s win over Melbourne City.

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Speaking on Lacroix, Aloisi was confident about his return for next week’s match against Adelaide.

“(Lacroix) should be fine for next week. He wasn’t quite right,” Aloisi said.

“He copped a knock just above his knee. If it was a grand final today we would have risked it, but there’s no use so early on in the season.”

In what was supposed to be a tough outing for United, they managed to comfortably marshal a Brisbane side with plenty of attacking talent.

It is especially surprising when considering that last season saw 47 goals conceded in just 26 games. It included a 6-1 loss to Melbourne Victory and 3-0 losses to both Wellington and Perth.

The turnaround has been nothing short of remarkable. Western United are yet to concede from open playing in the A-League this season, and have only conceded once in four games.

It’s not as though those four games were against average sides. They included a win against last year’s champions, Melbourne City, who boast an attacking triplet of Andrew Nabbout, Jamie Maclaren and Matthew Leckie, and also perennial high-scorers Perth Glory.

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A large part of the solution has been the form of former Swiss international Leo Lacroix. However, despite his absence, Brisbane rarely troubled Jamie Young aside from a few long-range efforts from Jay O’Shea.

“It’s another clean sheet, they didn’t really look like scoring, they didn’t really create any chances and it should have been a more comfortable win,” Aloisi said post-match.

“(Our defence) gives us a platform to allow us to compete.”

That is exactly what it did. Good defense offers up opportunities on the counter, and if not for some poor finishing in the final third, the lead could have ballooned out to a cricket score.

“Leo, who’s our form player, wasn’t playing and we were still able to be really solid at the back”

Heading into next week’s game against winless Adelaide United, it bodes well for the rest of the season.

The focus now is on making sure the attacking talent does its job. 18 shots and only one goal isn’t quite a sustainable recipe for success.

“It’s important to just keep on believing and getting in those positions, and they’ll fall for you” Aloisi responded in relation to the missed opportunities.

“The more you get yourself into those areas, the more goals you’re going to score.”

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With the certain return of Lacroix next week, and the slow return to fitness for both Prijovic and Khrin over the coming weeks, United will continue to be up amongst the big boys come the end of the season.

Meanwhile Brisbane’s inability to score has put the pressure well and truly on coach Warren Moon.

The Roar have only scored one goal this season, and never looked like threatening the weakened Western United defence.

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“It’s not great, we’ve now lost three games out of four,” said Moon.

“To start the way we did in the second half to concede a goal was really disappointing. And then at that point, you’re looking for more from our boys.”

“We had good passages of play but no cutting edge, no one wanted to take a strike on goal. No one wanted to run one against one with their fullback and get in behind.”

When you start talking about crucial clashes just five games into a season it’s never a good sign. However, that’s exactly what next week’s match against Perth Glory is.

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“If we start to panic now and change things drastically that’s not going to help anyone. We need to stay calm, we’ve got to find our first win.

A win would most certainly ease the tension around the club. After all, the Bakrie group are not the most patient owners in the country.

Whilst Western United’s defence has been incredible, it’s time for the warning bells to start going off up north.

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Dillon Izon
Dillon Izon
Marketing graduate at Monash University. Sports addicted, fan of Manchester United and Melbourne City. My gran “knows” Gareth Bale.

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