Ersan Gulum's a bit chirpy. Filip Kurto's new skills are coming on, as is the team. FTBL analyses the evolving Western United FC a month out from the new A-League season.
Western United continued their pre-season winning streak with a 2-1 win over a depleted Melbourne City at the CFG training base.
It was their first game against A-League opposition and a timely chance to assess where the squad is at a month out from their historic first A-League fixture at Wellington Phoenix.
What was learnt and what can we glean from the display?
Here are five discussion points from the friendly.
1: Rudan’s revolution is shaping up nicely
When you face NPL opposition, as they have in their first three friendlies, it’s hard to get a handle on where you are at.
And even if City were without Socceroo striker Jamie McLaren and a clutch of their Olyroos, it’s clear coach Mark Rudan has this side moving in the right direction.
They are nowhere near as fit as they can be but there’s a steel to this side.
They are one key signing away from being a real threat this coming A-League season.
2: Sweeper-keeper Kurto
Against City, Filip Kurto came out of his box to clear balls on numerous occasions (proving he’s a very good header of the ball, too).
The Pole has been challenged by Rudan in pre-season to improve his sweeper game.
It’s part of a broader plan to have a higher defensive line at United.
Kurto did well in his sweeper-keeper role.
Though he may’ve been red-carded in a competitive game when he cleaned up a City player after he came out of his box to clear a ball late in the game.
He’s a quality shot-stopper too.
It’ll be fascinating to see his skills outside the box this season as United's higher line is deployed.