Club Preview - Adelaide United
The first of our Club Previews we look at Adelaide United
Adelaide United-s Head Coach Aurelio Vidmar and remainder of the squad from last year will look back at season 2008/09 as one of lost opportunities. They made the final of Asian Champions League (ACL) and Hyundai A-League but came up short in both. The clubs run in the ACL captured the imagination of football fans both in Australia and from around Asia and making the final was a magnificent achievement and earned them a place in the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup held in Japan, where they performed credibly among the best club teams from each confederation. But it-s in the Hyundai A-League where it all counts and for the second time they were unable to get past Melbourne Victory in a Grand Final, although this time it was a lot closer, losing just 1-0 and after having Brazilian striker Cristiano sent off after just 10 minutes.
The off-season saw quite a number of high profile leave with Sasa Ognenovski moving to Korea, marquee player Paul Agostino retiring and Brazilian Diego eventually going to Wellington Phoenix after being released. With Sydney FC defender already announcing his return home to Adelaide, Ognenovski-s loss is somewhat placated, while attacking midfielder or striker Adam Hughes was signed after deciding to return from overseas. Several of Adelaide-s impressive youth team also were given senior contacts including Michael Marrone, Joe Costa and Francesco Monterosso. However Vidmar-s last two signings have been the most interesting with former Ghanaian international striker Lloyd Owusu from Cheltenham Town and Korean midfielder Inseob Shin from Kunkuk University coming on board for the next two seasons. Owusu is a goalsneak and Vidmar is no doubt looking for him to take some of the burden off Cristiano, who was standout last season despite often playing in a lone attack role. Cristiano scored 8 goals and with another quality striker in support could flourish even more this season.
Vidmar-s squad is strong with experience all across the park and players that can turn a game singlehandedly. Captain Travis Dodd is lightening and gives the team a dangerous outlook whenever he ventures near the opposition penalty box, while Cassio will be hoping to avoid the injuries he sustained last year at critical times as he is a fan favourite. Paul Reid anchors the midfield superbly and the emergence of Fabian Barbiero was another highlight for Vidmar last season. Scott Jamieson is another excitement machine and was named the Hyundai A-League U-20 Player of the Year in his first season back in Australia. Daniel Mullen is another rising star, although he will be involved in Australia-s squad at the FIFA U20 World Cup in September and October. In Eugene Galekovic they have the No.1 rated locally-based keeper after earning a call-up to the Qantas Socceroos for the Asian Cup qualifiers.
Pre-season form has been up and down and only played eight matches, with the final match a 2-1 loss to Melbourne Victory down at Aurora Stadium in Launceston. Also lost 3-2 against North Queensland Fury up in Darwin and their only success against fellow Hyundai A-League opponents was against Perth Glory in Adelaide.
Adelaide should be thereabouts come the end of the season and if the Cristiano and Owusu combination can fire then who knows Adelaide might just break their Champions duck.
Adelaide Playing Roster
Current Squad: Alemao, Fabian BARBIERO, Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), Cassio, Robert CORNTHWAITE, Joe COSTA, Cristiano, Travis DODD (c), Iain FYFE, Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), Adam HUGHES, Scott JAMIESON, Michael MARRONE, Francesco MONTEROSSO, Daniel MULLEN, Lloyd OWUSU, Lucas PANTELIS, Paul REID, Kristian SARKIES and Inseob SHIN.
Re-signed: Daniel Mullen (2 years)
Players In: Joe Costa (Adelaide United NYL, 2 years), Iain Fyfe (Sydney FC - 1 year), Adam Hughes (Drogheda United, Ireland - 2 years), Inseob Shin (Kunkuk University, Korea Republic - 2 years), Michael Marrone (Adelaide United NYL - 1 year), Francesco Monterosso (Adelaide United NYL, 2 years), Lloyd Owusu (Cheltenham Town, England - 2 years).
Players Out: Paul Agostino (retired), Daniel Beltrame (retired), Angelo Costanzo (released), Diego (released), Isyan Erdogan (released), Sasa Ognenovski (Seongnam Ilhwa, Korea Republic), Jonas Salley (released), Jason Spagnuolo (North Queensland Fury), Michael Valkanis (retired), Robert Younis (released)