Two games, two losses, yet new captain Adam McGeorge remains confident Team Wellington will be a national league force this season.
McGeorge and his players had a great opportunity to strut their stuff in a televised game at Westpac Stadium yesterday but an early defensive lapse again cost them in a scrappy 1-0 loss to Canterbury United.
It was Canterbury left back Julyan Collett who did the damage in the 13th minute, cutting inside Karl Whalen before waltzing into the box and calmly placing a shot past Scott Basalaj into the bottom right corner.
"Not ideal, it was great for the boys to get out on the stadium and have a run but once again we conceded earlier than what we would have liked, with a soft goal," said McGeorge, who has transferred from Auckland City but missed the 3-0 loss to Waitakere United through injury.
"For a team that's only been together for two weeks, it looks promising and we've got a lot to build on. It was a disjointed week for various reasons but that's no excuse.
"The boys are slowly coming together and I think it's really positive."
Wellington coach Matt Calcott faced a difficult pre-season as he tried to integrate his new signings and the Phoenix academy players with his local club core.
Calcott made four changes yesterday, as out went Tom Doyle, Tom Biss, Jamie Duncan and Karsten Viborg and in came McGeorge, Wiremu Patrick, Cory Chettleburgh and Jimmy Haidakis.
Canterbury deserved their 1-0 lead at halftime, but it looked like a Calcott rark-up had found the mark as Chettleburgh, in particular, started to attack with some intent after the break.
But Canterbury weathered that storm and, as Calcott rang the changes, began to look the more likely team on the counter-attack.
Next up for Wellington - losing grand finalists last season - is a visit to Waikato FC, which McGeorge said was a "definite" must-win encounter.
McGeorge - who made his All Whites debut this year - admitted the chance to work in close proximity to Ricki Herbert was a major factor in his shift south.
"Obviously I'm pretty keen to get back in the All Whites setup.
"As the season progresses hopefully I'll get in front of him and let the performances speak for themselves."