Five things we spotted from our FFA Cup triumph
Adelaide United made history by becoming the first team to win two FFA Cup Finals on Tuesday night thanks to a 2-1 win over Sydney FC at Coopers Stadium.
The Reds exacted revenge after suffering defeat in last year’s decider by the same opposition.
An inspired performance from Craig Goodwin in which he bagged a stunning brace sent the home crowd into scenes of jubilation.
Here are five things we spotted from the magical night:
Pre-season goal achieved
At the beginning of pre-season, Marco Kurz and the team set out the goal of first reaching the FFA Cup Final and then winning it. That of course became a reality and their title success is vindication of their hard work. Moreover, the Reds did not concede a goal from open play all tournament, as Adam Le Fondre’s penalty was the only effort to beat gloveman Paul Izzo all tournament.
The ‘12th man’ played its part
It may seem like a cliché and an aspect of the game which is difficult to measure its impact, but the home support no doubt helped push the Reds over the line. An impressive crowd of 14,448 in attendance created an electric atmosphere to further complement the high level of football on display.
Led by the Red Army, the fans spurred Adelaide on with their rousing chants and passion, providing that extra bit of determination with Sydney pressing for an equaliser in the final few minutes. And following the match a spine-tingling exchange between the players and fans broke out with chants of ‘Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la A-U-F-C’ reverberating around Coopers Stadium as the raucous celebrations began. A truly special moment.
A superb Goodwin performance
It is no secret but Craig Goodwin was immense and his performance will go down as one of the greatest individual outings ever witnessed at Coopers Stadium. Indeed, he left an indelible mark on proceedings by bagging that amazing double which also fired him to the top of the scoring charts with five goals for the FFA Cup 2018 campaign.
He deservingly collected the Mark Viduka Medal for his exploits and is in terrific form. But the 26-year-old issued a warning, stating he believes he can still improve his game. That is a scary thought and one that shows the type of character Goodwin possesses, as he eyes a call-up to the Socceroos squad ahead of the impending 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
Reds show resilience
Adelaide could have easily dropped their heads after conceding virtually straight after taking the lead. However, they remained firm and weathered the storm, and a testament to the resilience and belief in the squad, instilled by the senior players and coaching staff. Even towards the end of the game, United defended resolutely as a unit and prevented Sydney from restoring parity and forcing extra-time.
Tactical flexibility gives Kurz options
With the overall depth of the playing roster bolstered over the offseason; it has since provided Kurz with more tactical flexibility when it comes to choosing the starting XI or making substitutions. For example, during the second-half against Sydney, when Vince Lia was replaced by Ken Ilsø, it forced a reshuffle without disrupting the team’s rhythm. The Dane and Ben Halloran interchanged between the striker and attacking midfield roles, while Mirko Boland dropped back and partnered Isaías to offer more protection in front of the back four.
The Reds’ versatility from an attacking standpoint also enables an element of unpredictability moving forward. Halloran can play anywhere across the front four, while Ilsø can work as a target man, advanced midfielder or second striker. United also has searing pace offered by Nikola Mileusnić and Ryan Kitto who both recently returned from respective injuries, increasing Adelaide’s attacking stocks.
Adelaide United face Central Coast Mariners in Round 3 of the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 season on Sunday, 4 November at Central Coast Stadium. Kick-off is at 4.30pm ACDT. Live and Exclusive on Fox Sports and streamed on the My Football Live App.