W-League mid-season report card: Adelaide United

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It’s the time of the year when clubs look towards the home stretch of the season and The Football Sack critiques each club’s progress so far.

Semester summary: Much like last year, the first half of the season for Adelaide United has shown promise but ultimately it has been a failure. The Reds are winless after four matches and are last on the ladder but that doesn’t tell the whole story. In all four of their matches they have been the better side but failed to convert their chances. There is a lack of attacking depth and an over reliance on 16-year-old wonderkid, Mary Fowler. An injury to Adelaide City WNPL golden boot winner Chelsie Dawber hasn’t helped their cause either.

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In round one the team pushed Western Sydney all the way, taking the lead but unlucky to lose in the 90th minute. Against Sydney FC and Melbourne City, the Reds only lost by one goal. Most recently against Brisbane they managed to find the back of the net twice but couldn’t hold out defensively as they shipped three goals.

The first three matches suggests that their defensive structure is good enough, they just need to find some consistency in the key moments and start hitting the back of the net. If they do this, they can make the finals.

Areas of excellence: The backline. Captain Amber Brooks has been outstanding in the heart of the defence. She has been making tackle after tackle all season and without Brooks the Reds would be in big trouble. She never shies away from a challenge and inspires her teammates with every tackle. However, they can’t keep relying on her and the rest of the defence to save them. They need to start scoring goals and picking up points ASAP. With only eight games remaining a maiden finals finish is slipping away. Fast.

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Areas in need of improvement: Concentration. Last season finished with four losses and this season has started with four losses and yep, you guessed it, they need to shore up their defence. Concentration in the key moments of the match is pivotal, this will allow them to counter attack and harness the prowess they have upfront. Three times this season they have conceded in late stages of the match.

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Can they make finals? With only three goals scored all season, it’s hard to suggest they can. But they are creating chances. Against Melbourne City they had seven shots, none of which were on target but they all came from different players. This suggests that they have enough players creating goal scoring opportunities. Against Brisbane Roar they did find the back of the net, twice in fact. But it was not enough as they again conceded late to lose the match.

Top student: Mallory Weber. She has been up and down the wing in all of Adelaide’s games so far. Her work rate is incredible and her link up with Fowler is starting to become evident. Weber scored her first goal in Adelaide’s last match against the Roar. It was a fantastic individual run, capped off with an expert finish and it showed exactly what she can bring to the table.

In need of improvement: Georgia Campagnale through no fault of her own. She needs to break into the starting 11. With over 50 appearances for the Reds, she is one of the most experienced players in the squad and can add the leadership they seem to be missing. She started for the first time this season against Brisbane and the side scored two goals.

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Grade:  F

Outlook: Time is running out for the Reds. With four losses to start the season, they are rock bottom of the league. There have been impressive displays in the majority of their games but if you don’t score goals you don’t win football matches. Confidence is now key for the side. If they can take the positives from their performances and rectify their concentration issues, they can make the finals.

Feature image credit: Adelaide United

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Euan James
Lover of all things football. Covering Adelaide United matches in 2019/20 for TFS!