Melbourne City: 2014-15 Season Review

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.

Best Performance:
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.

Best moment:
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:
Tando Velaphi

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.

Disappointing player:
Robert Koren:

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:
Jacob Melling:

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.

Best goals:
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

Best Player:

Aaron Mooy

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!

 

Elimination Final Review: Wellington Phoenix 0 – 2 Melbourne City

Wellington-City

Finals football. Due to a very poor run going into this match, most Melbourne City fans had little hope in the lead up. The team had lost the last two matches of the season away from home against Perth Glory and Adelaide United causing plenty of worry.

Melbourne City lined up as follows:

                              Velaphi

Retre        Chapman       Kisnorbo       Germano

                    Mooy   Koren   Paartalu

   Williams             Kennedy                Novillo

The absence of a single natural full back added to the issues as Jack Clisby was out with an injury, while Safuwan Baharudin was sent back home due to a back injury. The match had started with no real intensity but the home side were first to threaten to take the lead. An early bit of work from Nathan Burns allowed him to strike one from outside the area only for it to go wide.

However, City found room shortly after as Koren played a great ball to David Williams who had time and space but the 27-year-old was not composed enough to get a convincing shot away. A great set-piece variation that was definitely practiced on the training ground almost allowed Harry Novillo to strike home but his effort was blocked. It seemed as though City were looking hungry.

Michael McGlinchey’s free kick had struck the top of the crossbar causing danger for Tando Velaphi. The half-time whistle was blown after a fairly even contest that had not balanced in either team’s favour yet.

Several minutes into the second half, the game took a drastic turn, fortunately in the favour of the visitors. Josh Kennedy received two brilliant deliveries in the space of two minutes that were both put wide. It was Germano at left back who had come on to his favoured right foot to produce two brilliant crosses for the big man. However, it remained scoreless.

Only two minutes later though Harry Novillo, who had been causing trouble on the left wing, strolled into the danger area before sliding back to Aaron Mooy whose shot was eventually turned in by Josh Kennedy. It was an unbelievable moment as City had taken the lead but there was still plenty of work to be done.

Wellington wanted to push forward but failed to test the City defence and goalkeeper. It led to a counter attack for Melbourne City where Paulo Retre had delivered to Novillo before the Frenchman’s shot was deflected onto the post and off goalkeeper Glen Moss’ back – into the net! A fortunate but nonetheless historic moment for City. Their lead was doubled and seemed all but certain to advance into the semi-finals.

The home side were unable to get back in the game. As the final whistle was blown, City were through. We had booked a semi final against our cross town rivals – Melbourne Victory vs Melbourne City at Etihad Stadium on Friday night, something City fans thought they could only dream of.

Come on City!