Stamatelopoulos shines to plot Adelaide's path forward
The perfect blend of circumstance and an opportunity seized made Apostolos Stamatelopoulos the most encouraging outcome of Adelaide United's commanding win over Central Coast Mariners.
The Reds, despite their FFA Cup triumph, have been searching for a reliable centre-forward to emerge as the focal point of a promising front three.
Two Craig Goodwin stunners were required to see off Sydney FC on Tuesday and the in-form winger added another brace in Gosford on the way to a 3-0 victory.
This time he shared the limelight.
Injuries and form fluctuations have conspired against Baba Diawara and George Blackwood since they arrived at the club last season, forcing Marco Kurz to examine all options.
Unconvincing returns with Ben Halloran through the middle led the German to Stamatelopoulos and, on his return from Young Socceroos duty, the teenager took the chance.
Stamatelopoulos, still just 19, demonstrated poise beyond his years to curl a perfect cross to the near post for Adelaide's star man to head in the early opener.
Seven minutes later the bustling young striker had the second goal of his fledgling Hyundai A-League career, keeping up with a breakaway and getting the crucial touch to Goodwin's unselfish pass.
It all happened within a sparkling 16 minutes that suggested Kurz has unearthed the best candidate to complement his primary attacking weapon.
Key men prosper in professional performance
As for Goodwin, the three-cap Caltex Socceroo has now netted an incredible eight goals in seven competitive appearances this season, having later beaten Ben Kennedy from a free-kick.
Isaias was also among Adelaide's top performers, registering two key passes while regaining possession a team-high nine times.
When the Reds are fully functioning, it's usually because the captain and midfield heartbeat is at his best.