The 15th A-League season is set to kick off in South Australia next week, with Adelaide United hosting Sydney FC in the season opener on Friday, 11 October. It heralds the start of a new era featuring an expanded competition, transitioning being independently run.
Two new venues and six teams with new coaches, one of which is a completely new team, and a host of new players, all promise to add to the excitement.
Neos Kosmos previews the 2019-20 A-League season in the first of a two part feature.
Last season: 4th (semi-final loss to Perth Glory on penalties)
New coach: Gertjan Verbeek
Captain: Michael Jakobsen
Last season, only bottom club Central Coast Mariners scored less goals than United, highlighting a problem with finishing in the front third. Despite this shortcoming, the Reds won the FFA Cup and just fell short by a penalty shoot-out of making the Grand Final. Of their five new signings, only one is a defender. Norwegian striker, Kristian Opseth, Riley McGree and young forwards Al Hassan Toure, and Kusini Yenji come into the squad to bolster the attack. Notable departures are former skipper and midfield general Isaias as well as Socceroos winger Craig Goodwin.
Adelaide United 2019/20 squad
Goalkeepers: Paul Izzo, Daniel Margush, Isaac Richards
Defenders: Jordan Elsey, Michael Jakobsen (C), Michaël Maria, Michael Marrone
Midfielders:Mirko Boland, Lachlan Brook, Louis D’Arrigo, Ben Halloran, Ryan Kitto, Nathan Konstandopoulos, Vince Lia, Riley McGree, Ryan Strain
Forwards: Carlo Armiento, George Blackwood, Kristin Konstandopoulos, Nikola Mileusnić, Pacifique Niyongabire, Kristian Opseth, Al Hassan Toure, Kusini Yengi
Prediction: Top Four finish
Last season: 9th
New coach: Robbie Fowler
Captain: Tom Aldred
With the exception of new club Western United, few other teams will begin the new campaign with as many new faces as the Roar, following the mass exodus after last season’s disappointment. At last count there were 16 new players and 15 exits from last season’s squad. All five of their visa signings are British players, with Irish striker Roy O’Donovan the most familiar to A-League fans. New skipper Tom Aldred is a Scottish defender and fans hope he will help shore up the defence which was a problem last season. With the massive turnover of players and a new coach who is embarking on his first full-time job as a coach, fans may need to be patient to allow time for the new squad to jell together.
Brisbane Roar 2019/20 Squad
Goalkeepers: Max Crocombe, Macklin Freke, Jamie Young
Defenders: Tom Aldred, Daniel Bowles, Jordan Courtney-Perkins, Macaulay Gillesphey, Jack Hingert, Jake McGing, Scott Neville, Connor O’Toole, Izaacl Powell, Aaron Reardon, Kai Trewin
Midfielders: Rahmat Akbari, Stefan Mauk, George Mells, Aiden O’Neill, Jay O’Shea, Jacob Pepper
Forwards: Aaron Amadi-Holloway, Jai Ingham, Bradden Inman, Roy O’Donovan, Dylan Wenzel-Halls
Prediction: Mid-table finish
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS
Last season: 10th
Coach: Alen Stajic
Captain: Matt Simon
The Mariners will be trying to avoid a third consecutive wooden spoon this season. Former Matildas boss Stajic, gets the chance to prepare his own A-League squad for the first time. He’s added experience to the squad in the form of keeper Mark Birighitti, Scottish defender Ziggy Gordan and South Korean midfielder Kim Eun-Sun.
The Mariners struggled in attack last season and they may do so again having added the relatively inexperienced Abraham Majok and winger Samuel Silvera in the off-season.
Central Coast Mariners Squad
Goalkeepers: Mark Birighitti, Adam Pearce
Defenders: Jack Clisby, Dylan Fox, Giancarlo Gallifuoco, Ziggy Gordan, Kye Rowles, Ruon Tongyik
Midfielders: Daniel Desilva, Milan Ðurić, Kim Eun-Sun, Michael McGlinchey, Jacob Melling, Joshua Nisbet, Mario Shabow, Gianni Stensness
Forwards: Abraham Majok, Jordan Murray, Tommy Oar, Samuel Silvera, Matt Simon
Prediction: Mid-low table finish.
Last season: 5th (exited in Elimination Finals)
New coach: Erick Mombaerts
Captain: Scott Jamieson
The City Football Group has brought in experienced French coach Mombaerts as a replacement for Englishman Warren Joyce. Mombaerts’ task will be to develop an aggressive, attacking style which produces results. Last season, City reached its fifth consecutive finals campaign without reaching the grand final which remains an elusive goal for the club.
Unlike Joyce, Mombaerts won’t be saddled with a sidelined star striker with Bruno Fornaroli having joined Perth Glory. Instead he’ll have a potent strike partnership in Socceroo Jamie MacLaren and new English signing Craig Noone to begin the new campaign with. They’ll be supported by experienced Uruguayan playmaker Adrian Luna.
Melbourne City Squad
Goalkeepers: Dean Bouzanis Joe Gauci, Tom Glover
Defenders: Harrison Delbridge, Scott Galloway, Curtis Good, Scott Jamieson, Connor Metcalfe, Kerrin Stokes, Richard Windbichler
Midfielders: Nathaniel Atkinson, Florin Berenguer, Joshua Brillante, Marcelo Cabrera, Denis Genreau, Rostyn Griffiths, Nicholas Hatzigeorgiou, Moudi Najjar, Ramy Najjarine, Craig Noone, Lachlan Wales
Forwards: Raphael Borges Rodrigues, Stefan Colakovski, Yaya Dukuly, Adrian Luna, Jamie Maclaren
Prediction: Top two finish
Last season: 3rd
New coach: Marco Kurz
Captain: Ola Toivonen
Many eyes will be on Melbourne Victory, curious to see how they’ll fare in the post-Kevin Muscat era. Other notable departures are Keisuke Honda, Terry Antonis and Kosta Barbarouses. New coach Marco Kurz’s task has been to bring together a new look team featuring several players with international experience. He’s brought in Socceroo Robbie Kruse and Andrew Nabbout to help spearhead an attack alongside Ola Toivonen who was rewarded for his impressive first season with the captaincy. Kurz has bolstered his midfield with international experience including Danish international holding midfielder Jakob Poulsen and Albanian international midfielder Migjen Basha signed from Aris Thessaloniki. They are joined by attacking midfielder, Austrian Kritijan Dobras.
Victory’s defence which was mercilessly exposed by Sydney in last season’s semi-final has added James Donachie, Adama Traore and experienced German defender Tim Hoogland who can also play in the midfield.
Melbourne Victory Squad
Goalkeepers: Matthew Acton, Matthew Sutton, Lawrence Thomas
Defenders: Corey Brown, Benjamin Carrigan, Thomas Deng, James Donachie, Tim Hoogland, Storm Roux, Adama Traore
Midfielders: Jay Barnett, Migjen Basha, Leigh Broxham, Kristijan Dobras, Joshua Hope, Elvis Kamsoba, Birkan Kirdar, Robbie Kruse, Brandon Lauton, Anthony Lesiotis, Jakob Poulsen
Forwards: Kenjok Athiu, Andrew Nabbout, Ola Toivonen