The season is over. Bitter cross-town rivals Melbourne Victory ended up the league premiers and the champions. Melbourne City on the other hand, in their first season under the new ownership and new name, fell short of the expectations given prior to the campaign. Inconsistent performances led us to 5th position (6th if it wasn’t for Perth’s punishment). Was it a successful season? I don’t think so overall, despite scraping into the finals and winning our first finals game. But regardless, we’ll reminisce about our roller coaster of a season as I look back at the best (and worst) of Melbourne City in 2014-15.
Round 19 vs Adelaide 3-1:
Although it was a relatively poor first half in this match, the drastic shift in performance level was amazing for the second. Safuwan scored his first goal for the club from a corner that set the crowd alight before Josh Kennedy also scored his inaugural goal as he headed home to hit the lead. The match was later sealed with a rare Iain Ramsay finish minutes before the full time whistle.
Paartalu goal vs Victory:
Truly spectacular this was. It’s a moment that fans dream about (too bad I was overseas and hence couldn’t attend it). 0-0. 90th minute. Ball is lobbed in by Dugandzic for Erik Paartalu to score the header to win the derby.
Surprise outstanding player:
Last season, there was very little positive reaction to the signing of former Victory goalkeeper Tando Velaphi. Having signed merely as a back-up to Andrew Redmayne, nothing was expected of him. However, after round 8’s dismal display against Wellington, Velaphi started the following week. He kept a clean sheet in his first start of the season; our first for the season. From then on, he proved vital in our major improvement throughout the season. The 28-year-old kept an amazing nine clean sheets from just 19 starts – the equal highest for the season. Producing memorable saves to keep us in games or to keep us in the lead, Tando did it all. Undoubtedly a surprising key player as we were able to make the finals.
Besart Berisha, Thomas Broich, Marcelo Carrusca, Marc Janko. These are the marquee players who constantly deliver for their team. Unfortunately, Robi Koren just hasn’t worked out for Melbourne City. Admittedly, he scored a hattrick in his first start against Newcastle. But the Slovenian midfielder failed to be a catalyst for City. Often going missing in matches and his inability to make an impact were major reasons why fans believe his performances have been way below par given his status. It is unsure whether Koren will remain at the club but there’s no doubt that Melbourne City need a marquee player who will dominate and win matches on his own at times.
Best young player:
Signed on a youth contract after having just featured just nine times for Adelaide United, Melling would develop as a fine midfielder in his first season for City. Immediately becoming a fan favourite due to the composure and aggression shown in the middle of the park, the now 20-year-old is someone who fans would love to start each week given he remains injury free. We could definitely expect to see Melling become one of the best Australian midfielders in the league if he continues to replicate his performances this season.
Connor Chapman: If we forget some of the poor displays by our defenders towards the back end of the season, we’ll appreciate the efforts of the former Newcastle Jets centre half. He was unbeatable at the back on some occasions as a result of his terrific defensive positioning and ability to carry the ball out of defence with full confidence. Chapman has a case of glandular fever that isn’t easy to be rid of as it kept him out of the side early in the season and could perhaps continue to affect him. Nevertheless, fans have seen that he can become a top defender for City and the league.
We also hope to see Ben Garuccio, Marc Marino and Stefan Mauk regularly next season and injury free.
1. Harry Novillo vs WSW: https://youtu.be/kDzK4iN_FMI?t=1m2s
2. Aaron Mooy vs Perth Glory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoiMjSFuzn8
3. Aaron Mooy vs WSW: https://youtu.be/s7ygOF5tH-o?t=4m48s
For all of Melbourne City’s goals this season: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2VDmFmpYH0
Well, what a season for Aaron Mooy. Having arrived from Western Sydney, no one came close to matching his dominant performances almost every week for City. He recorded 7 goals and 8 assists throughout the season (most for each) but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. His immense work rate, exquisite passing range, composure, ability to dictate the match and reliability were and hopefully will continue to be major factors for his success. He deservedly took out the award for our best player of the season.
Well there we have it – some of the key things we can take away from the season. A clearing out of players has begun, with club releasing long-serving forward Mate Dugandzic as well as Iain Ramsay. It is no surprise that Damian Duff and Rob Wielaert won’t be back, both being at the end of their playing days. Kew Jalien’s experience will be missed though he too is near the end of his career. Let’s hope the club can sign major players who can lead us to bigger and better things for the next season, including a bigger supporter base. It will be a long wait for the 2015-16 campaign when we can see Melbourne City once again compete in the A-League and hopefully challenge for top spot.
Come on City!