tribalfootball.com has reviewed each A-League club following the completion of the home and away series.
First up is bottom-of-the-table Adelaide United who did not return to the highs of last season where they made the Grand Finals of both the domestic competition and the Asian Champions League.
Check back daily for season reviews of all the other clubs – tomorrow is ninth placed Brisbane Roar.
Record: Wins – 7, Draws – 8, Losses – 12; Points – 29
Top goalscorer: Lucas Pantelis (5)
What went wrong? Almost everything. The 2008/09 runners-up had next to no luck all season, finishing at the foot of the table. Once again they did not have a striker who scored in the 10-goal region and too often had to rely on midfielders like Travis Dodd and Lucas Pantelis to find their goals.
If it wasn’t for goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic, they would have copped plenty more goals and despite bringing in central defenders Iain Fyfe and Mark Rudan, the Reds could not keep teams under wraps in their own third.
What went right? Very little. Apart from unearthing potential superstar Mathew Leckie the Reds will not look back in 2009/10 in a positive fashion. Two wins from their last two will give them something fond to remember though.
tribalfootball.com’s Player of the Year: Not very clear cut for Adelaide. In a poor season, goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic gets the nod.
Crowds: Home average – 10,764. Biggest – 15,038 (Rd 7 vs. MV) Lowest – 8,244 (Rd 26 vs. BR). With plenty of prime time Friday night matches, the Reds enjoyed some decent crowds throughout the season but their form and results did not let them capitlaise on what could have potentially been a big season.
The coach: Aurelio Vidmar did not have his best season in charge of the club. The former Socceroos midfielder was in his third season at the helm and the team slid to their worst finish under his guidance. In 2007/08, he led them to a 6th-placed finish of 8 teams whilst last season saw them go to the Grand Final where they were beaten by arch rivals Melbourne Victory. From there they should have at least booked a finals ticket but to slump to the bottom was the worse result possible and Vidmar’s position must be reviewed following the upcoming Asian Champions League campaign.
Surprises: Letting the promising Michael Marrone go to North Queensland Fury and the brilliant form of teenager Mathew Leckie.
Disappointments Ghanaian striker Lloyd Owusu. Although he toiled hard for the club, his good goalscoring record was non-existent.
Where to from here? The Reds will now represent Australia, along with the Victory, in the Asian Champions League. They must improve their performances out of sight if they are to repeat their brilliant 2008 campaign which saw them get to the final where they were outplayed by Japanese club Gamba Osaka.
They needed a competent striker and managed to sign one in former Brisbane Roar goalscorer Sergio van Dijk and the addition of Adam Griffiths will help in midfield. These signings should at least make them competitive in Asia but they must look for reinforcements prior to the next A-League season.