Despite an impressive attacking display, Western United were edged out by Macarthur FC, losing 2-1 at Leichhardt Oval on Monday night.
It was a different looking midfield as Steven Lustica and Jerry Skotadis were both handed starts.
Aaron Calver returned from injury, slotting into central defence alongside Brendan Hamill.
21-year-old Manny Aguek was named in an A-League match day squad for the first time in his career.
Alessandro Diamanti tried to make it two goals in as many matches when he tried from distance, forcing a save out of Adam Federici.
The United captain went close to scoring one of the goals of the season just a few minutes later, launching an effort from halfway that went inches from finding the back of the net.
Macarthur capitalised on their first chance of the match through Markel Susaeta.
The Spaniard took the ball past United defender Aaron Calver inside the area before finding the bottom corner with his strike.
The Bulls’ lead was doubled three minutes later via a rocket from veteran Mark Milligan.
The former Socceroo found space on the edge of the area before giving Ryan Scott little chance with a thumping effort.
United almost found a way back into the game when Dylan Pierias was played in on goal by an Iker Guarrotxena through ball.
But Pierias was denied his seventh goal of the season by a stunning save by Federici.
United started the second half brightly when Diamanti played in Guarrotxena who failed to hit the target with his toe-poke effort.
Guarrotxena did have his goal on 63 minutes, banging in a header from Diamanti’s corner to give United hope.
With United doing all the attacking, an equaliser almost came in the 80th minute.
Diamanti picked out Pierias who cut it back before Macarthur’s defence almost put the ball in their own net.
An impressive second-half performance from the Victorians wasn’t rewarded as the Bulls held on for three points.
A positive for the Green and Black was the senior debut of 21-year-old forward Manny Agulek who came on in the second half.
Western United 1 (Guarrotxena 63’)
Macarthur FC 2 (Susaeta 27’, Milligan 31’)
Western United will remain in NSW before taking on Central Coast Mariners on Saturday, 5 June in Gosford. Kick-off is 5:05pm.