By Ewen McRae
Western United has finalised its preparations for its first A-League game this weekend, playing out a hard-fought draw with Western Sydney.
The A-League’s newest club travelled from its Caroline Springs training base to Geelong to take on the Wanderers at GMHBA Stadium, and despite leading for almost the entire match it allowed a late equaliser and had to settle for a draw.
It was the team’s final warm-up game ahead of its inaugural match in the big time against Wellington on Sunday afternoon.
Former Socceroo Scott McDonald wasted little time in getting the game on United’s terms, finding space in the box to drill home the first goal of the match after just two minutes.
United had the better of play in the opening half, with McDonald coming close just five minutes later, and Italian Alessandro Diamanti also curling in a good shot only to see it tipped over the crossbar by the keeper.
United saw its lead disappear in the 80th minute, when the Wanderers found the back of the net with a low shot from just inside the box. Despite both sides pressing for the winner the scores were locked at full-time.
While the club is preparing for its first outing for points this weekend, there is also plenty of action off the pitch with the appointment of Chris Pehlivanis as chief executive of the football club.
Pehlivanis joins United from AFL club Essendon, where he held the role of chief financial officer, and has also previously worked with Football Federation Australia.
He said he was excited to be joining the fledgling club and helping to grow the game.
“I am honoured to be part of the next stage of the organisation’s growth,” he said. “There is so much potential and … I am looking forward to playing my part in building our great game with our vibrant and valued community across Melbourne’s west.”
United will play Wellington Phoenix at 4pm, October 13.