Looking back now, it’s not so surprising that Adelaide United faded as the season drew to a close.
Looking back now, it-s not so surprising that Adelaide faded as the season drew to a close. Having kicked off their AFC Champions League campaign before the domestic season, the Reds got a head start on the rest of the competition - and it was ultimately that form that got them into the finals.
The Reds were far from consistent but a strong run between rounds four and 12, where they lost just one game put them in good stead. But it was that round 12 hammering by Western Sydney that prised open the cracks.
A month later John Kosmina stunned the club when he walked out, blaming the Reds hierarchy for a “lack of trust”. Michael Valkanis stepped up but the Reds struggled to recover. Mid-season form and the sheer inconsistency of those below kept them in the top six but with just one win in the last four games before the finals, they never looked like going further in the knockout competition.
Chairman Greg Griffin has promised a thorough review as the club searches for a new head coach, and it-s clear there is a lot of work to do if the Reds are to avoid shooting themselves in the foot yet again.
Defence With only a small defensive team, Adelaide did at least have some relative consistency at the back with Fyfe, McKain, Boogaard, Cassio, Golec and Bowles all playing a part throughout the season.
Of course, it helps when you-ve got Eugene Galekovic behind you, regularly pulling out jaw-dropping saves. The 37 goals they conceded was the highest of all the top six and, as with Perth Glory-s deficiencies at the other end, it-s not so surprising that these were the first teams to be eliminated in the finals.
Midfield There was plenty to enjoy from the Reds midfield this season, from Dario Vidosic-s confirmed class - even if he did fade as the season wore on - to the emergence of Evan Kostopoulous, but best of all were the imports.
Marcelo Carrusca and Fabio Ferreira both provided some memorable additions to this season-s highlight reels and chipped in with plenty of important goals to support the attack, but inconsistency and a lack of squad depth took their toll. Whoever takes over the coaching role has to ensure he is getting the best out of these undoubtedly talented players week in, week out.
Attack Perhaps Adelaide-s weakest area. Bruce Djite always impresses with his energy and desire - but he just doesn-t score enough goals. Perhaps if he was playing alongside a more prolific, out-and-out striker - someone like, say, Sergio van Dijk - his qualities as an attacking foil would come to the fore.
Similarly, the skillfiul Argentine Jeronimo Neumann dished out some exquisite goals this season - but neither is he the man to lead the line. Just think what a dangerous and varied front three these players would make had the Reds been able/willing to keep van Dijk at Hindmarsh.
Coach Whatever your opinion of John Kosmina-s exit from Adelaide United, you can-t deny that he had built the framework of an exciting team, which, with just a few additions, could probably have made a much stronger push for honours this season. It was Kosmina who gave them a strong enough start to keep them in the top six regardless of the late fade. But not for the first time at Adelaide, internal politics affected what happened on the pitch.
Michael Valkanis-s short tenure wasn-t quite as successful. Whether that-s a reflection on his qualities as a coach or simply a long and draining season catching up with the Reds, only time will tell.
John Kosmina: won 9, lost 7, drawn 2; goals for 26, against 26; 29 points from a possible 54 Michael Valkanis: won 2, lost 5, drawn 3; goals for 11, against 15; 9 points from a possible 30
Adelaide United Overall Grade: C