Wellington Phoenix

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Season Guide
2019/2020

Wellington Phoenix

In


Stefan Marinovic (gk) Bristol City; Luke DeVere (def) Brisbane Roar; Te Atawhai Wihongi (def) Auckland City; Liam McGing (def) Sydney FC U21; Walter Scott (def) Perth Glory U21; Matti Steinmann (mid) Hamburger; Ulises Davila (mid) Odisha (IND); Cameron Devlin (mid) Sydney FC; Tim Payne (mid) Eastern Suburbs; Callum McCowatt (mid) Eastern Suburbs; David Ball (att) Rotherham; Jaushua Sotirio (att) Western Sydney Wanderers; Reno Piscopo (att) Renata;

Out


Mandi (k) (mid) released; Filip Kurto (r) (gk) Western United; Andrew Durante (r) (def) Western United; Thomas Doyle (r) (def) Chemnitzer; Sarpeet Singh (r) (mid) Bayern Munchen U21; Michal Kopczynski (r) (mid) Legia Warsaw – end of loan; David Williams (r) (att) ATK (IND); Roy Krishna (r) (att) ATK (IND); Max Burgess (sp) (mid) Western United; Cillian Sheridan (sp) (att) Kiriyat Shimona; Anthony Golec (def) Badak Lampung; Ryan Lowry (def) released; Justin Gulley (def) released; Nathan Burns (att) released;

Phoenix were part of the play-offs for the first time in 5 years last term and the Kiwis impressed a lot with their expansive attacking football that saw them entertain and play some excellent games. However, the early announcement from coach Rudan that he is leaving for pastures green affected the post-season and despite this being positive overall campaign bitter taste and consequences that followed saw Phoenix suffer through difficult summer. Rudan not only refused to honour the second year of his contract, but also very unprofessionally convinced 3 of Phoenix’s stars to join him in Western United, which began max exodus of players. The departure of 8 regulars from last season meant that the newly appointed coach Ufuk Talay (assistant coach of champions Sydney FC last season) had major rebuilding process ahead of him. Credit to Phoenix they signed some very interesting players this summer. New Zealand’s main goalkeeper Marinovic will be the new number 1, experienced centre-back DeVere and the exciting Maori defender Wihongi are also great new arrivals. Also the 3 import signings so far have been impressive, with Phoenix still having open place for another marquee player and expected to fill it with a new high-profile striker even before the start of the new season. Rotherham’s centre forward Ball already joined the team and is main hope up front, where he will be helped by Mexican playmaker Davila. German Steinmann will be the new anchor man. On paper Phoenix have strong starting line-up despite all the changes, but the depth is not good and decisive for the chances to finish in the top 6 will be how fit everyone will be.

Target


Phoenix will want to make the play-offs again, which will be possible only if all main players stay fit. On paper the starting XI are very talented, but still it will be tough.

Season Review
2018/2019

№6: Wellington Phoenix

Phoenix returned to the play-offs this season after positive campaign that even made it feel as the Kiwis missed out on much more as they played very attractive football and scored lots of goals. Krishna was by far the biggest star up front and he deservedly won the Golden Boot, breaking several scoring A-League records on his way. To start with things didn’t look great under the new 3-4-1-2 system introduced by the appointed in the summer coach Rudan. Phoenix won just 1 of their opening 6 games (2 draws and 3 defeats). However, things soon improved with Krishna and Williams forming devastating partnership up front, Singh being the creative force right behind them, veterans Durante and Taylor dominating in defence and goalkeeper Kurto being excellent throughout the campaign. All this saw Phoenix enjoy nine-game unbeaten run (5 wins and 4 draws) in December and January and come the midway point of the season the Kiwis were well established in the top 6 and they never exited the play-off positions after. With 3 goals or more scored in 9 of the 27 rounds Phoenix were really pleasant on the eye and only injuries to regulars Taylor and Fenton late in the season brought a series of damaging defeats that saw the team missing out on home advantage in the play-offs. Instead Phoenix travelled to defending champions Victory for the Elimination Final after 3 draws registered between sides during the regular season. Krishna scored again in this play-off game, but 1:3 defeat was suffered and despite all the positives many Phoenix fans were left wondering what could have been.


Player of the Season: Roy Krishna

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