Final position: 10th (28 points, eight wins, four draws, 14 losses)
Impressive was the courage of Western United to hold itself against Perth Glory in the side’s third match. United ran away with a 5-4 win and demonstrated promising signs for what could have been ahead.
Eight goals were scored in 29 minutes of football, including a double from Dylan Pierias within five minutes.
United scored its fifth in the 84th minute, and were able to stop Glory from conceding another to draw the match.
It was one of the few performances of the season in which United united as a side and played with intent to secure the three points.
Western United failed with consistency this season, and could not back up its fifth place finish in its inaugural season.
United found themselves relying on the performance of individual players and the poor performance of its opponents to secure wins.
With the chance to change this around half way through the season, United did the exact opposite. It fell to its lowest point, losing eight straight games, including a 5-0 loss to the Western Sydney Wanderers and 6-1 loss to Melbourne Victory.
The horror end to the season saw the departure of inaugural head coach Mark Rudan after the side’s final loss of the season against the Central Coast Mariners.
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Whenever the football passed through the midfield, it undoubtedly crossed the pass of Victor Sanchez. The Spanish midfielder was signed to the club at the beginning of the season, bringing with him over 300 games of experience in the La Liga.
Sanchez’s ability to creatively move the ball was clear. He was involved in nearly every passage of play by United, trusted with his 82.5 per cent successful passes rate.
Sanchez was also able to move forward when required, scoring three goals. He famously won the game for his side in the dying minutes of time on against Melbourne Victory in match 10, breaking the three all draw in the final moments of the match.
With his contract seeing him wear the black and green for at least another year, United fans should be excited for what the Spaniard will bring next season.
After managing only three games while at Melbourne City, Dylan Pierias has proven to be a young player full of potential since arriving at United.
Pierias has scored six goals in his 17 appearances this season, proving his versatility to play back, forward and even on the wing.
United also see a future ahead of the 21-year-old, signing him on in May for a further two seasons, keeping Pierias in the west at least until the end of 2022/23.
United was constructed on the basis to win trophies. This season however, the older squad list did not work in its favour.
Despite its encouraging start, recording a 5-4 win against Perth Glory, and a 4-1 win against eventual finalists Macarthur FC, not enough was done to back up the performance from its inaugural season.
United showed signs initially that they were capable of another top six finish. It will be possible again next season if they play cohesively and minimise how much they rely on other side’s performances.
Finding a suitable replacement for Rudan will begin this transformation back to its inaugural form.
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