A-League Women mid-season report card: Adelaide United

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We are at the halfway mark of the 2022/23 A-League season, so it’s about time The Football Sack takes a look at the performance of Adelaide United.

Semester summary: Adelaide United have lost momentum after a promising start. 

The South Australian side started the 2022/23 A-League Women season with a bang, taking three points in their opening match against Sydney FC. The win against the reigning premiers immediately showed that Adelaide meant business and were intent on going to finals like last season. 

The Reds continued to make waves, winning their second match against Perth Glory. This was a history-making moment for the club who previously had never won their two opening matches of a season. 

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Adelaide reached a setback in their defeat to Western United, conceding two goals in the last few minutes of the match after what had been a solid performance. 

Though the Reds bounced back, going on to secure two wins against Western Sydney Wanderers and Wellington Phoenix, another bli[ was on the horizon. 

Since then, things have gone downhill for the club. Their back-to-back defeats to Newcastle Jets and Canberra United have pushed Adelaide out of the top four and out of contention for the finals series. 

Area of excellence: Defence.  

For most of their campaign, Adelaide’s defence has been pretty solid. In the seven games that the team has played, the Reds have only conceded six goals. This is the third least in the league, behind Sydney FC and Western United. 

The feat is impressive considering the fact that Adelaide’s defence had a major rebuild this season, with over half of their defensive players from last season leaving the club. 

The Reds’ defence features standout players like Maruschka Waldus and Annalee Grove.  

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Waldus has been a staple in Adrian Stenta’s back four, and been instrumental in clearing goals for the South Australian side. 

Grove has shown some serious development as a goalkeeper this season. The young player has played in all seven of Adelaide’s matches and has four clean sheets under her belt. 

The club certainly wouldn’t be in the top five without their substantial defence. After all, attack wins games, but defence wins championships. 

Area in need of improvement: Converting chances. 

Unfortunately, Adelaide’s offensive capabilities have not been on par with their defence. 

The Reds have only scored five goals in the season so far, just above Wellington, the current wooden spooners. 

Adelaide have consistently struggled to create goal-scoring opportunities this season, often making less attempts than their opposition. 

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But more concerning than that, is their conversion rate. The Reds have the third lowest conversion rate in the league, only converting 3.9 per cent of their scoring chances. 

In their matches against the Phoenix and the Jets, Adelaide had less shots on target than their opponents even though they made more attempts overall. 

If the Reds want to make a comeback in the second half of the season and break into the top four again, the team must improve their finishing ability and shooting accuracy. 

Top student: Annalee Grove .

Grove has been the backbone of the Reds’ impressive defence this season.

The 21-year-old is one of the best keepers in the league right now, with a save rate of 81.8%. This is only bested by Sydney’s Jada Mathyssen-Whyman and Melbourne Victory’s Casey Dumont. 

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Grove is also tied with Jada Mathyssen-Whyman for the most clean sheets of the season, keeping four clean sheets out of the seven matches she has played in. 

She has pulled off some spectacular saves to achieve these feats, making her one of the most exciting goalkeeping prospects to emerge from the league this season. 

Class clown: Xiao Yuyi. 

The Chinese international hasn’t performed as expected this season. 

The 26-year-old forward was brought in to bolster Adelaide’s firepower from Shanghai Shengli in the Chinese Women’s Super League. After scoring the winning goal in the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Final, it was thought that the striker would give the Reds an offensive edge. 

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However, Yuyi has failed to make a real impact this season. In the four appearances she has made for Adelaide, the forward has not been involved in any goals. 

The foreign import has been overshadowed by other strikers like Chelsie Dawber and Emilia Murray. 

Grade: B

Outlook: The Reds are still capable of going to the finals. Adelaide are only one point outside of the top four, and the club has shown that they can be resilient in the face of defeat. 

Adelaide’s early performances have demonstrated that they are a quality side that can contend with top competitors like Sydney FC. 

The South Australian team have many skilled and experienced players in their ranks. With some further refining of their finishing abilities, Adelaide United could have their most successful season yet.

Featured Image Credit: Jordan Trombetta

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Jasmine Singh
Jasmine Singh
One of the two journalists covering the Western Sydney Wanderers and the Central Coast Mariners for the 2022/23 season. Studying a Bachelor of Media (Communications and Journalism) / Bachelor of International Studies at the University of New South Wales. A true crime addict and dog lover.

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