Cassio on the verge of 150 game milestone

Cassio is set to make his 150th appearance for the club in all competitions when the Reds take on the Wellington Phoenix on Sunday.

Adelaide United FC defender Cassio is set to make his 150th appearance for the club in all competitions when the Reds take on the Wellington Phoenix on Sunday, but he is not about to let his imminent milestone overshadow the importance of getting three points.

Returning from his mandatory one match suspension after accumulating five yellow cards, Cassio is expected to be recalled into his familiar left back role in the Reds- starting eleven for the clash at Westpac Stadium.

This would see the pocket rocket become the third player to reach 150 games for Adelaide United, behind Travis Dodd (183) and current captain Eugene Galekovic (167).

The dual Club Champion-s first appearance for the club was in the opening round of the 2007 Pre Season Cup against Melbourne Victory in Launceston after he arrived in Adelaide in June 2007. Now almost six years later, he is preparing to play his 150th game for the club, his tally comprising of Hyundai A-League, Pre Season Cup, FIFA Club World Cup and AFC Champions League matches.

A devout and passionate man, Cassio feels privileged by the honour.

“I have to thank the club for giving me the opportunity to wear this shirt 150 times - it-s a very proud moment for me,” Cassio said.

The 32 year old picked out the journey to the Final of the 2008 AFC Champions League as the highlight of his games with the Reds, while the low point incidentally came the last time he was in New Zealand back in November 2011 when he suffered a serious foot injury against the Phoenix at Auckland-s Eden Park that put him out of action for 12 weeks.

But while he is aware of his imminent milestone, Cassio-s focus is on more pressing matters, namely how the Reds can reverse an ordinary run of away results in order to not only push back up towards the top two, but to also avoid a club record seven straight away games without a win, a run that occurred back in 2007.

To achieve this, the Reds must win at a place that has proven one of the most difficult for away teams in the Hyundai A-League to take points from, against a Wellington team whose finals aspirations are becoming more urgent by the week.

“There are just six games to go and it is very important for us to win because we-re not in good form away from home,” Cassio said.

“We know how hard it will be playing against them (Wellington) over there because they have to win the game to keep their season alive and we have to stay up and try to turn things around, especially away from home.”

“I think it-s going to be a very hard game. I know the ladder shows them at the bottom of the table but for me its going to be very difficult, they have a lot of experience with these kinds of games…we need to be switched on from the start and try to be the best we can to get a result over there.”

Cassio is unable to pinpoint the reason why the Reds have not been able to win on their travels since November, however one thing he does know is that it can only turn around with dedication and persistence on the training track.

“I don-t know - there-s something missing. The only thing you can do is train hard every day,” Cassio replied on why the Reds- away record contrasts to their home form.

“Football is not a miracle, you have to train and do your best individually and as a group, so that-s what we have to do to improve.”

“If we do that you-re going to get the best out of the team and of course you perform well in every game…the last few games we haven-t done that.”

The squad will head across the Tasman tomorrow and have a final training session in Wellington on Saturday ahead of Sunday-s 2.00pm ACDT kick-off.

Cassio - Adelaide United FC appearances (goals) Pre Season Cup 8 (3) FIFA Club World Cup 1 (0) AFC Champions League 25 (1) Hyundai A-League 115 (7) TOTAL 149* (11)