So agonisingly close yet so far.
That would be the perfect way to describe Adelaide United’s 2018/19 W-League season.
It was United’s best season on record. Although not beating their highest placing so far (fifth in 2015/16), Adelaide have finished off the season with a record high of 18 points in sixth place - certainly putting their names down as the finest United squad to date.
However, they were just one point short of a spot in the top four and yet again, their maiden Finals appearance will have to wait for another season.
“It was bittersweet because we were so close, but at the end of the day, I think if anyone [had] said that Adelaide United would be finishing the season with 18 points, people would have laughed at you,” coach Ivan Karlović mentioned.
“However, we believed in ourselves, I think we’re [only] starting to make people take notice of what we’re about and where we’re heading.”
With the departures of multiple key players in the offseason, the Adelaide coaching staff searched far and wide for appropriate replacements.
The overseas imports they brought in were quality. Amber Brooks, who formed a solid partnership with captain Emma Checker in the heart of defence, won 81.0% of contests, and provided five assists – coming in second on most goals assisted, just one less from Perth’s Sam Kerr and Rachell Hill.
Reflecting on a season that was full of emotions. This team and club is one big family and I feel grateful to be a part of something so special. To say we exceeded people’s expectations is an understatement, yet being so close and missing out by such a small margin hurts. I am so proud of every member of this team for the work and effort put in towards achieving success and building a strong standing culture. Last season was the grind with hard yards of unseen progress, this season was only the start of seeing it come to fruition. Did we achieve what we were aiming for? Unfortunately no, but we have taken leaps and bounds towards achieving more club history next season. To all our families, friends and supporters, thank you for believing in us week in week out. We couldn’t do it without you. 🔴⚪️
Icelandic duo Gunhildur Jónsdóttir and Fanndís Friðriksdóttir were the engine room on the field and provided guidance and leadership to the young United squad.
Veronica Latsko contributed nine out of 17 Adelaide goals, which put her in equal second on most goals scored with Victory’s Natasha Dowie and Sydney’s Caitlin Foord.
The locals were not too shabby either. After a two-year break from the W-League, young gun Dylan Holmes came back to have a breakout season – she started in every match and was a crucial player in the Reds’ setup.
Defender Laura Johns was a rock in left back, but her attacking nature also allowed for plenty of opportunities to come from the left flank during their counter-attack.