Adelaide United 2022/23 Season Preview

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After a heart-breaking last minute semi-final loss last season in the A-League Men, Adelaide United are looking to go one step further this time around.

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Last season…

A-League Men: 4th
Finals: Semi-finals

They’ll win the league because…

The club have been exceptionally consistent at making the finals in recent years, with the grand final just away from their grasp. They have had one of their best off-seasons since their championship-winning season in 2016, having made some useful signings while only losing a couple of notable players.

Manager Carl Veart has proven he can make the club a consistent contender, it is now just the case of winning when it comes to the business end of the competition. Last season’s side made a habit of never giving up and scoring goals at the end of many games, showing the impact Veart has had on the team.

The core of the squad that has made two semi-finals in a row has been kept intact, while also adding some quality signings. Two of these have come from Sydney FC’s backline, with experienced centre-back Ben Warland and promising right-back Harry Van der Saag joining the ranks. This will boost Adelaide United’s already strong defence, which ranked third in goals conceded last season.

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Another major addition is having captain Craig Goodwin locked up until 2025, after a loan stint at Saudi Arabian club, Adha. Goodwin was the club’s top goal scorer last season with 10 goals. He will be key to Adelaide’s success this season.

For most clubs in the A-League Men, the players lost outweighs the players gained. This isn’t the case with Adelaide, who have had a few losses but are more hindering squad depth rather than major losses.

One loss is Kusini Yengi, who accepted a large offer from Western Sydney Wanderers. Former captain Michael Jakobsen was also let go by the club, due to injuries and age. These are a couple of losses the club have had, but they have kept the core of their squad together and will be looking to finally get over their semi-final hump this season.

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They’ll be cellar dwellers because…

It seems unlikely that Adelaide will struggle this season, but there are a few reasons why this could become a reality.

This Adelaide United is a classic case of a blend between youth and experience. The side’s average age is the third youngest in the league, however there are some older players whose time in professional football may be close to wrapping up.

Take the midfield of Isaias and Juande for example. They were superb last season for the side which got to the semi-finals for a second straight season. Both are highly talented players, however they are also both over 35 and father time doesn’t wait for anyone. It will be interesting to see if manager Veart keeps with these two for the entire season, or if some fresh, younger legs are required.

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Another issue is their reliance on Goodwin. He scored 10 out of 31 of their goals last season and there needs to be more goal threats in the side. Adelaide had the third best defence last season, but also had the seventh best attack, so their goal scoring could become a reason of worry this season.

Talk around the water cooler…look smart in front of your colleagues with this valuable piece of information

Adelaide United have made the finals series four times in the last five seasons, but surprisingly haven’t made the grand final in that time.

The off-season brought…

Quality over quantity.

The team will basically be the same as last season, but with a few quality signings and many fringe players leaving. Adelaide had 34 contracted players in 21/22, the third most in the league. This season they have 27, which is closer to middle of the pack. Warland and Van der Saag are two solid defensive options that provide quality depth to the team. Adelaide United look to be strong in defence once again this season, thanks to these quality moves in the offseason.

Key player

Craig Goodwin.

Re-signing with the club for three more seasons is a great sign with several other clubs wanting his signature. Goodwin was the club’s top goal scorer last season with 10 goals and looks set to do the same again this time around, if not better. The rest of the team scored a combined 21 goals, showing Goodwin’s importance to the side. If Adelaide United are to win the championship this season, Goodwin will be influential in doing so.

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One to watch

Nestory Irankunda.

The 16-year-old winger has bucketloads of talent and the sky is the limit for him.

Last season he played 13 games off the bench and scored three goals in just 200 minutes. He has the unique habit of scoring outrageous goals in crucial moments. Irankunda was named in the A-Leagues All Stars side last season, showing his class already. Former winger Lachlan Brook leaving the club gives Irankunda a chance to earn more minutes and become a potential starter for Adelaide United.

Rival clubs in Australia and abroad will be keeping a close eye on his development for the future.

Ins: Harry Van der Saag (Sydney FC), Ben Warland (Sydney FC), Luka Jovanovic (promoted), Panashe Madanha (promoted), Steven Hall (promoted)

Outs: Jacob Tratt, George Timotheou, Joe Caletti, Kusini Yengi, Mohamed Toure, Yaya Dukuly, Stefan Mauk, Nathan Konstandopoulos, Michael Jakobsen

Full squad list

Goalkeepers: Ethan Cox, James Nicholas Delianov, Joe Anthony Gauci, Steven Hall

Defenders: Alexander Popovic, Ben Warland, Harry Van der Saag, Javier Lopez Rodriguez, Lachlan Barr, Nick AnsellMidfielders: Asad Kasumovic, Ben Halloran, Bernardo Oliveira, Ethan Alagich, Isaias Sanchez Cortes, Jonny Yull, Joshua Cavallo, Juan De Dios Prados Lopez, Louis D’Arrigo, Ryan Kitto

Midfielders: Asad Kasumovic, Ben Halloran, Bernardo Oliveira, Ethan Alagich, Isaias Sanchez Cortes, Jonny Yull, Joshua Cavallo, Juan De Dios Prados Lopez, Louis D’Arrigo, Ryan Kitto

Forwards: Craig Goodwin, George Blackwood, Hiroshi Ibusuki, Luka Jovanovic, Nestory Irankunda, Panashe Madanha, Zach Clough

Feature image credit: Jordan Trombetta

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Joshua Dean
Joshua Dean
Aspiring sports journalist! I love sports and enjoy writing, so added my two hobbies together! Studying Journalism at Massey University, Wellington.

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