Carl’s Call: Fit and refreshed Reds ready for season opener

Carl Veart coaching his Reds.

As the dust finally settles on another long Australian pre-season, Carl Veart’s fit and focused Adelaide United squad have their eyes firmly fixed on more.

United’s last Isuzu UTE A-League campaign met a cruel fate in extra time following a gruelling two-legged Semi Final fixture against eventual runners-up Melbourne City.

It took all of 169 minutes of football for United to concede a goal across both games against City, only after Zach Clough’s sumptuous volley initially broke the deadlock.

Carl Veart and Mark Milligan overlook the Reds’ training session.

Planning for season 2022/23 began at the final whistle at AAMI Park and a revamped pre-season fitness program has ticked all the coaches’ boxes ahead of Sunday’s opener against the Phoenix in Wellington.

A strong winter break was capped by a 5-1 closed-door friendly win against City over 135 minutes on Friday, leaving confidence high for the trip across the ditch.

Veart ventures into the key features of a balanced, refreshed United squad that faces three away fixtures before an eagerly awaited homecoming at a renovated Coopers Stadium on Sunday, 30 October.

The Spark
Everyone enjoys a last-gasp winner – despite its stress – but Veart hopes to put games away a bit earlier this time around.

“No doubt we had those young boys like Nestor (Nestory Irankunda), Mohamed (Toure), and Bernardo last season who made a difference for us,” he said.

“Nestor is still very young, and he’ll be playing that role again this year, but I think one of the most exciting for fans to look at is Zach Clough.

Carl Veart is tipping Zach Clough to have a standout season in 2022/23.

“He had a tough time of it last year, but he’s had a full pre-season now and you can see the quality, the quality in his touches and his movement is excellent.

“We expect him to get ten or more goals this year with a lot of assists.”

The Spanish Inquisition… featuring Hiroshi Ibusuki
Pair honorary Spaniard, Hiroshi Ibusuki, with natives Isaías, Javi López, and Juande and you’ve got a unique understanding on and off the pitch.

“They’re not only great players, but they’re also great guys,” Veart explained. “Their culture of how they want to win really rubs off on the younger players.

Hiroshi Ibusuki and Javi López battle it out in pre-season training.

“We’ve got quite a strong starting 11, 12, 13 players.

“But then underneath that is a lot of younger players that we’re trying to develop as well, and the Spanish boys plus the likes of Craig Goodwin, Ryan Kitto, and the returning Ben Halloran, provide a lot of direction for the younger guys coming through.”

In some welcoming news for Reds fans alike, Veart also announced that Goodwin has returned to full training following a groin complaint and will put his best foot forward to play in round one.

The Youth
Mentioned earlier was the decisive impact of 16-year-old Irankunda in the closing moments of games last season. The Adelaide youth talent pool stretches further again despite the unfortunate injury to Bernardo.

“We’ve got a couple of good young boys like midfield duo Ethan Alagich and Jonny Yull, plus Luka (Jovanović) and Panashe (Madanha) who the Reds faithful can be excited about.

The Reds have plenty of quality youth stocks.

“And there’s also another young Toure that’s coming through that might surprise some of our fans as well – Musa.”

The continued development of defenders Alexandar Popović and new signing Harry Van der Saag is more apparent with one of the league’s best right-backs in López beside them.

A Fresh Home
The Coopers Stadium upgrade will be largely completed for round four, and Veart can’t wait to see it rocking.

“We expect to still pick up points in the three away games but coming home to Hindmarsh with the new redevelopment is going to be a very exciting place to watch football.

“It will be an even better experience for our fans.

“When you speak to anyone that comes to Hindmarsh, they say how tough it is to play here because the fans make it very difficult and it’s important that Adelaide gets behind us yet again.

“It’s the best stadium in the country.”

Carl Veart can’t wait to get back to Coopers Stadium in Matchweek 4.

United will travel to Wellington, Macarthur, and Sydney FC in the first three games of season 2022/23, before their first match at the revamped Coopers against Perth Glory on 30 October.

The season will feature a mid-season break from 18 November-8 December due to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.