2021/2022 A-League Season Review: Adelaide United so close to victory

Adelaide United walk off after a victory (PHOTO: Adelaide United Twitter/ Graphic : Will Cuckson)

Adelaide United had one goal heading in to the 2021/2022 A League Women’s season: To make finals. And make finals they did, before unfortunately falling at the hands of Melbourne Victory.

The highs

One of the highlights of the season for Adelaide United was qualifying for finals in their win against Melbourne Victory.

Not only was this a 14 year first for the club, but Fiona Worts enjoyed a day out with a hat trick to hand them a 3-0 win.

Added to this feat was the fact that the game was part of a double header for the first ever pride games in both the A-League Women’s and Men’s seasons.

Adelaide United celebrating making finals for the first time in their 14 year history after defeating Melbourne Victory 3-0 at home. (Image: Adelaide United/Twitter)

Another highlight was the fact that they played an attacking and entertaining brand of football with Fiona Worts and Chelsie Dawber notching up double digits in goal scoring across the season.

This was topped off with Worts taking home the Golden Boot for the leading goal scorer of the competition.

In defence, their chemistry and cohesion was also a sight to behold for Reds fans. Since American defender Kayla Sharples was added to the defence, working together with Matilda McNamara and Isabel and Emily Hodgson. This unit has was worked to restrict scores to great affect this season and Sharples has proven to be a calming influence.

Melbourne Victory players fighting for the ball against Adelaide United captain Isabel Hodgson. (Image: Melbourne Victory)

More A-League Women’s News

2021/22 A-League Women Season Review: Perth Glory

2021/22 A-League Women Season Review: Brisbane Roar left ruing what could have been

2021/22 A-League Women Season Review: Canberra United’s dramatic drop off

The lows

One of the lower points of the season was Adelaide’s loss to begin the season against Melbourne Victory. The 5-1 loss at AAMI Park was down to costly mistakes made against the reigning premiers which they capitalised on.

It was Adelaide’s heaviest defeat suffered since 2017 but did well to not slump to a greater loss after being 4-0 at half time.

They did not have Dylan Holmes and Charlotte Grant after she left the club. Both were regulars within the team and without them, the team lacked chemistry and cohesion. This would come over the course of the season though.

All smiles as Ivan Karlović and Dylan Holmes front the media after news of her departure. (Picture: AUFC Media)

Losing the first final was another tough pill to swallow for Adelaide with Melina Ayres kicking the winning goal at the 57 minute mark. Victory captain Lia Privitelli was massive for Melbourne scoring its first goal and providing an assist in the second half.

It was not their most polished performance and it cost them as they were searching for an equaliser late but unable to get anything going.

MVP

The English striker Worts was the most valuable player of the season for Adelaide. She has won the first Golden boot for the women in the club’s history.

Worts kicked 13 goals for the Reds in just 14 games this season with five goals coming in one game last month. This was the third time after Hannah Wilkinson from Melbourne City and Kate Gill from Perth Glory did so.

That was one of her strengths was working in partnership with Dawber so that Adelaide had multiple avenues to goal.

Breakout player

The breakout player for Adelaide this season was Japanese midfielder Nanako Sasaki. She has showed that even though she has become known for her attacking nature she is improving defensively. United have been really improved with Sasaki in the midfield in her first year in the league.

Another breakout player for United this season has been Annalee Grove. She began the season giving up clangers and looking like she might not make it at the level, she has turned it around and has made herself one of the keepers to watch in the league.

Nano Sasaki competing with the ball against Alyssa Whinham (Image: Adelaide United Twitter)

Final word

There is no doubt that Adelaide United have taken a step up this year through the performances of Dawber and Worts in offence as well as Annalee Grove and the defensive group. Keeping these players together will help them to consolidate the progress made this year and ensure they continue to rise as a finals team.

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