Player of the week
Carlos Hernandez (Wellington Phoenix)
The Costa Rican star is doing his best impression of a decent red wine, improving and maturing with age. Despite being on the wrong side of 30, Hernandez has enjoyed his best season in the A-League, flourishing under the possession based game plan that Ernie Merrick employs. Netting his fourth goal in his last three matches, Wellington will be feared if King Carlos can continue this hot streak until the season’s end.
Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United)
The Socceroos shot-stoppper has had a spike in form in recent months, coinciding with his team’s resurgence and rise up the ladder. Galekovic had to be in fine touch to keep a fifth clean sheet of the season. In each half Ranko Despotovic looked set to find the back of the net, only to be thwarted by some top class keeping from the Adelaide skipper.
Osama Malik (Adelaide United)
The perennial nomad of Josip Gombau’s side, Malik has found himself at right back in recent weeks. If his performances continue at the level of Saturday’s, he might soon be making a permanent move to the position. Always adept on the ball, Malik was handed the task to release the Adelaide front free, and provide support to Fabio Ferreira down the flank. His performance drew man of the match honours, as his width in attack was vital to breaking down Sydney’s attempted press.
Jade North (Brisbane Roar)
After taking an early lead, the Roar were put under constant pressure from the Wanderers, and a point was saved, mainly due to the exploits of North. Continuing a stellar season, North made Wanderers striker Brendan Santalab a virtual spectator in a dominant performance. The former Socceroo marshalled his back four superbly, and could have done nothing about the Wanderers equaliser. If he keeps this rich vein of form a national recall may be on the cards.
Patrick Kisnorbo (Melbourne Heart)
A stingier defence in recent weeks has been crucial for the Heart, who are making a frantic bid for the finals. Battling the heat in Albury, Kisnorbo helped keep Perth to sporadic attacking forays. Not content with just defending, Kisnrobo has found a recent taste for goals and netted the opener from a corner, which illustrated his can do attitude. After missing the last World Cup through injury, the Heart defender is firmly placing himself in the window front for Ange Postecoglou who is looking for a replacement for Rhys Williams.
Adama Traore (Melbourne Victory)
The flying Victory left back regained his flair on the weekend and helped the Victory gain a confidence building win, their first in four matches. Traore was part of the Victory defence that was untroubled for the entire 90 minutes. It was his constant attacking raids that caused the Mariners the most problems though, creating Melbourne’s second goal when he delivered a vicious cross in to Archie Thompson who slotted home.
Isaias (Adelaide United)
Adelaide produced their most completed performance of the season, dominating every facet of the match against Sydney. It was in the midfield where the away side was most dominant, with the passing statistics showing the difference between the teams. Adelaide had 419 complete passes compared to Sydney’s 286. A midfield maestro, Isaias looked to be controlling the match like a puppeteer, such was his influence.
Cameron Watson (Adelaide United)
Known as the moving wall, Watson has proved to be the perfect screening midfielder, complimenting the more attacking inclined Isaias and Carrusca in the heart of the Adelaide midfield. No stat shows Watson’s importance more efficiently than the defensive strength whilst he is on the pitch. Adelaide have conceded no goals in the 415 minutes Watson has graced the park this season. Whilst he may not pick up the external plaudits, Watson’s importance is acknowledged most by those at the club.
James Troisi (Melbourne Victory)
The Victory striker returned to from on the weekend, netting a brace in the 3-1 win over the Mariners. Having not scored this year, Troisi’s recent slump coincided with the Victory’s poor run of results in 2014. Whilst his first goal was a poachers effort, it broke the shackles and allowed him the confidence to shoot from a tight angle in the second half, an effort that beat Liam Reddy at his near post and sealed the 3 points.
Stein Huysegems (Wellington Phoenix
The Belgian striker’s two season in the A-League could not be more different than chalk and cheese. Last season, he struggled as the focal point of an attack that was fed by long balls, scoring only 5 times in 22 matches. This season, he is netted a goal every two matches and is leading the scoring charts. His goal against Newcastle showed the confidence he is omitting, perfectly placing a shot just inside the post from the edge of the area. Along with Costa Rican duo, Carlos Hernandez and Kenny Cunningham, the big Belgian will be crucial in the Phoenix’s rise to the finals.
Craig Goodwin (Newcastle Jets)
Being limited to cameo’s by former coach Gary Van Egmond, Goodwin has relished the change to Clayton Zane, starting all 3 matches under the new regime. This has provided the 22 year old with increased confidence, all of which he showed against Wellington. Goodwin showed his class on both feet as he scored either side of the break. His first finish showed his power, whilst his second was a sublime individual effort.