Cornthwaite’s Corner: International break

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Remember when this team couldn’t score? I don’t!

What a remarkable five weeks it’s been for not only the players and Club, but the fans as well. These types of runs don’t come around often, and while everyone starts to dream and look forward to finals and how far the boys will go, we must also stop and be present in the moment to enjoy what’s happening right in front of us.

United are now on their third-longest unbeaten run in the Club’s history. They went 14 games unbeaten in the 2015/16 season, winning the Club’s only A-League Championship, and 13 games unbeaten in 2010/11.

Confidence is such a wonderful thing in football. I remember as a player feeling untouchable, and no matter what was happening during the game — whether we went a goal down or a man down — you never felt beaten. I’d imagine that’s a wave the players are riding now.

The international break comes at an interesting time for me. It could be the perfect time to freshen up and reset ahead of Wanderers after the week off, a game that could decide who finishes second on the ladder or it could also be the worst possible time to stop for the Club, halting the incredible 2023 so far.

The truth is, we won’t know until the league resumes and the players return to action. One thing to remember is that the break has little to do with it. It’s the players who will ultimately decide which side of the coin they fall on when they travel to New South Wales next Friday.

Did they do everything they could to return in the best possible shape? Only they know that.

The game against the Phoenix was a strange old game. Wellington led in just about every stat except the one that matters. The Nix finishing was poor and Adelaide did look shaky at the back on several occasions.

But in front of goal, there was absolutely nothing stopping the Reds.

Every single player has contributed to the unbeaten run, and whenever someone has been asked to step up, they’ve delivered. Luka Jovanović was barely sighted in the opening 20 rounds and now has two in two. Hiroshi Ibusuki comes on and scores. Louis D’Arrigo has been epic since the injury to Juande. Lochie Barr is scoring. Craig Goodwin and Nestory Irankunda have been on fire in front of goal. Joe Gauci has been making saves in big moments. I could go on and on, but everyone has had their moment, and it needs to continue.

They have worked so hard to get where they are, and with five games to go, they’ve got it all to play for; they can win it all.

Seven more games to remain unbeaten, and they will be A-League Champions, I’m sure. It’s a short sprint to the finish line now. How badly do they want it?

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