Adelaide United Youth has suffered its first defeat in seven matches after a 2-0 loss against MetroStars at Jack Smith Park on Saturday.
A goal in either half consigned the Young Reds to defeat as Christian Esposito and Hamish Gow were on target for the visitors.
Head of Youth Football, Airton Andrioli, said his side struggled to get into the contest after a physically gruelling week following several players featuring in Adelaide United Reserves’ 1-0 semi-final defeat to Adelaide Olympic in the Federation Cup.
He said that the match against an experienced MetroStars outfit will serve as an excellent learning curve.
“If we look at the game and the whole week that we had and the last couple of weeks having those cup games midweek and having a few players having to double up, I think it was a bit of a disturbed week,” Andrioli explained.
“Having that game midweek didn’t help us a lot. But we’ve spoken about this so many times before that it’s not so much about the result, it’s about exposing the players to those games and playing against experienced players.
“That always makes a big difference when you’ve to deal with players having played in this competition for a long time.”
Andrioli believed his side never really got going and struggled to manufacture opportunities.
“I think we conceded a couple of soft goals,” he admitted.
“There was not much in the game, we didn’t create a lot because they defended quite deep and were very compact.
“We had a couple of injuries just before kick-off and a few players that couldn’t finish the game as well.
“So overall it was sort of a tough week for the players, having the midweek cup game because we’ve still got young players that play in both NPL and the cup – having a small squad that maybe didn’t help.”
Despite the defeat, United Youth remain three points off top spot in sixth place after nine games.
Andrioli revealed he is satisfied with how his team has fared so far, but stressed it was important to remain focused on the bigger picture – player development.
“We’ve got to always make sure we don’t lose focus of the main priority which is the development of players,” he stated.
“We choose that pathway because that’s what we do. We want to develop players that can play at a higher level.
“I’ve said many times we have a very, very young squad. This team could be playing in the under 18 competition if you like and they’re playing against men.
“So from that perspective it always has to be the main focus, that we don’t let the short-term objectives come in the way of the long-term objectives.”
Andrioli went on to add: “We want to develop players that can play in the A-League for the future… Hopefully in the long term we reap the result that we want; more players – like we have quite a number already – with A-League contracts and scholarships.
“We want more players coming through in the near future.”