In just one month, the A-League will be kicking off for another bumper season, but as the pre-season comes to a close, what predictions can we make for the fate of the finals?
It might be early days but some teams are showing some good momentum.
For the first time ever, Sydney FC managed to take the first team all the way to Italy for six pre-season friendly against Serie A, B and C teams. It really should have been called Del Piero’s homecoming, as the Italian media and the home crowd banded together to cheer on their compatriot. But, Sydney FC’s performance against one of the best leagues in the world was remarkable.
It managed three wins, two losses and a draw in its six match tour.
But, in the three week programs, the team went through 56 training sessions in 21 days in hot summer temperatures which will have them in good stead for a smooth A-League start.
Despite some great signings, Melbourne Heart hasn’t had the best of luck. Harry Kewell has come in as their star player but it hasn’t been enough to keep the team afloat in the pre-season. The team has lost its marquee singing, Orlando Engelaar for four months after the star got benched after an injury. John Aloisi’s team is now scrambling to find a strong starting six.
Melbourne Victory hasn’t had much luck either in finding a Marquee player. Multiple deals were looking promising, including a deal with Greece international Giorgios Karagounis but nothing eventuated.
But, under Ange Postecoglou’s tutelage, the team has secured some strong wins against VPL clubs, even after fielded a mostly youth based team. The likes of Mark Milligan and Archie Thompson were called up for Socceroos duties.
The two finalists from last season are still powering through, securing strong pre-season wins. Championship winners, Central Coast Mariners just came off a 1-0 win against Adelaide United, while Western Sydney Wanderers made a phenomenal 5-0 win against Chinese greats, Guangzhou R&F. Their Chinese and Japanese tour has been a bit up and down, just this week, they fell against Tokyo Verdy 2-1.
But, if last season is anything to go by, the Wanderers will be one of the most consistent teams and a force to be reckoned with under head coach Tony Popovic’s guidance.
Adelaide United had one of the most unlucky ends to the season, with in-fighting and no permanent head coach to unify the team again.
Despite Michael Valkanis’ best try, the team just wasn’t responding right. Now, with new head coach Josep Gombau at the helm, the season start will be a good litmus test.
Brisbane Roar take on Central Coast this weekend in a blockbuster match that will prove great practice for the season start.
They secured two strong local wins, against Brisbane City (3-0) and Albany Creek Excelsior (5-0) in their pre-season.
Perth Glory has had a positive pre-season, securing an international friendly win against Malaysia’s Johor Darul Takzim, pushing two goals through to finish 2-0.
Wellington Phoenix’s team has seen the bulk of players be called up for national duty, but the team has been developing well without their star players.
The new season is set to begin on October 11, with a Melbourne derby and a finals rematch between the Mariners and the Wanderers.