Scott Galloway (def) Wellington Phoenix; Michael Jakobsen (def) Melbourne City; Ben Halloran (mid) V-Varen Nagasaki; Mirko Boland (mid) Eintracht Braunschweig; Ken Ilso (att) Penang; Craig Goodwin (mid) free agent;
Ersan Gulum (k) (def) Hebei China – end of loan; Benjamin Garuccio (r) (def) Hearts; Tarek Elrich (r) (def) Western Sydney Wanderers; Jordan O’Doherty (sp) (mid) Western Sydney Wanderers; Daniel Adlung (r) (mid) Greuther Furth II; Johan Absalonsen (r) (att) Sonderjyske; Dzengis Cavusevic (sp) (att) released; Mark Ochieng (def) Adelaide Comets;
In the off season Adelaide lost 3 of their 4 regular starters in defence, Gulum returned to his parent club and both full-backs left, which forced coach Kurz to rebuild at the back. The other two significant departures were of the main ball-handler in midfield Adlung and the talented, but prone to injuries, striker Absalonsen. The latter scored a goal every 124 minutes on the pitch last season, but as he had three different spells out injured he was not very influential overall.
Coach Kurz already promoted through the ranks several very talented youngsters and after his breakthrough senior campaign last term it seems that now Strain will be playing regularly in defence where the gaffer also signed two new players. Both Jakobsen and Galloway are seen as important additions.
In midfield Kurz replaced Adlung with another German midfield in Mirko Boland and with Isaias and Lia around him, plus three-four very talented younger players the Reds are expected to dominate possession in many of their matches. Kurz likes possession-based football and he always encourages his players to keep control of the ball.
Adelaide should carry greater threat down the wings this season as the signings of the vastly experienced wingers Halloran and Goodwin suggests. Up front a lot of responsibility is focused on the new Danish forward Ilso, who can play equally well as a secondary striker and as a target man. Of course, in his third season with the Reds Diawara hopes to finally stay fit and when he is available the centre forward is usually very effective goalscorer.
Overall the team’s balance looks good, with the main issue being the shortage of forwards and also the uncertainty as to how good defensively things will be after 3 of the 4 starters from last season left.
Adelaide hope for a top three finish of the regular season and at least semi-finals in the play-offs, but there are better teams than them on paper and the more likely position of the Reds will be between 4th and 8th. Making the play-offs is the main goal!