Gold Coast U20 will host Western Pride U20 in todays NPL Youth League match. Teams are 5th and 6th on the table.
Today Gold Coast has one very important player missing - Oskar Dillon has featured 11 times in NPL this season and will also start today for Gold Coast first team.
In last round Gold Coast dominated and won 4-0 against Redlands U20 who used half U18 squad which is worst in their own league. Two rounds ago I watched GC U20 against Strikers U20. Strikers had half U18 players and dominated the game. In my opinion Gold Coast U20 is one of the most overrated teams in the league. They won the league last year but all their best players have moved to other clubs. For example Fraser Eller has scored 23 goals in 18 matches for Strikers this season. GC has two big problems in their game - firstly they cant create too many goalscoring opportunities and secondly their transition from attack to defence is so slow that even weaker teams are capable of scoring easily against them.
Western Pride U20 is almost in full squad today. They have scored 29(!) goals in last 4 games. Andrew Pengelly has scored 14 of them. Pride didnt start well this season but by current form they are best team in the league. Lately they won 4-3 against Olympic and drew 5-5 against Brisbane City, top 2 teams in the league and much stronger than Gold Coast. Western Pride has really balanced team. They use same squad week in week out, players know each other really well. They have good central midfielders who can pass and shoot. Pengelly is a machine in front. 26 goals in 16 matches this season. Also WP has good team spirit, they always fight til end and many times this season have come from back to get points. Against Brisbane City they were 5 times in a losing position and drew on 92th minute.
I have seen both teams lately this season and for me Western Pride is favourite in this match. Their team has more overall quality than Gold Coast. If Pengelly and Persons will perform like they have been lately, it will be a very long 90 minutes for Gold Coast slow defensive line.