BRIAN SCIARETTA - Friday, February 17, 2012
After a disappointing loss to Brisbane Roar last weekend, Alex Smith and Wellington Phoenix face another difficult task when they visit A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners on Saturday.
The Texas native Smith will start for Wellington in his usual defensive midfield position.
Prior to last weekend, Wellington were in second place in the A-League but the 2-0 loss to Brisbane saw then fall to third place. The top two teams advance straight to the semifinals of the playoffs and the third through sixth place teams advance to the playoffs.
Central Coast is the current league leader but they have lost their last two games and have failed to impress recently. Last weekend they dropped a 2-1 decision to Melbourne Victory.
Central Coast will be without suspended defender Trent Sainsbury. Pedj Bojic and Troy Hearfield are unlikely to play due to injury.
Wellington will be without suspended Andrew Durante and Tim Brown.