For every round of A-League football in 2020/21, FTBL will be handing out awards for the brilliant, bad and bizarre moments each week. In round eight, a marquee signing finally made his mark, one team continued to score for fun, whilst one manager couldn't control himself on the touchline.
The Award For Finally Making Your Mark
Last week I called Rudy Gestede a "dodgy" signing for the Victory.
He must of read the article because the striker announced himself down under this week.
His aerial presence is his greatest strength, and the ex-Aston Villa man rose twice to net a brace against the Phoenix last Tuesday, giving the side a much-needed win.
He scored in the thrilling 4-3 defeat to Western United on Saturday, again with his head, although that proved to be in vain.
Loving this new strategy of just lobbing it onto Rudy Gestede’s massive head #MVCvWUN— Sam Wilkinson (@WilkoSam) February 27, 2021
Victory just needed that aerial presence going forward to help them rekindle their attacking spark; now, the defence needs significant improvement.
The All-Out Attack Award
This award goes to Perth, who continues to score goals for fun this season.
They are scoring at a rate of three goals per game, with eighteen goals in just six games to start the season.
Defensively they still need to improve, but they are easily the most potent attacking side in the competition.
Perth Glory xG this season— A-League Wrap-Up (@ALeagueWrapUp) February 26, 2021
Brisbane (H) - 0.88
Adelaide (A) - 1.06
City (A) - 1.28
Victory (A) - 0.77
Western United (A) - 1.26
Adelaide (H) - 2.71
In Diego Castro, Bruno Fornaroli and Andy Keogh, they have experienced and proven A-League foreigners. Meanwhile, Nick D’Agostino and Daniel Stynes are continually improving, making way for a perfect balance of experience with youth.
It is also understood that Chris Ikonomidis is not far away from returning from a long-term knee injury. It is dangerous to read on paper, and it’s even more dangerous out on the pitch.
With squads with vast attacking talent, some managers fall into the trap of focusing on the defensive side instead and just allowing the attackers to get on with it.
However, Richard Garcia knows his attackers are his most important asset. He has ensured they have built the right chemistry and relationships in training.
The big task now is recording more clean sheets and improving their defence. The introduction of German defender Sebastian Langkamp should help that.
If they can improve defensively, then the sky is the limit for the Glory in 2021.
The Prodigal Son Award
Craig Goodwin is gradually getting closer to becoming the Prodigal Son of Adelaide United after he netted within two minutes of his third stint with the club.
The Socceroo put the Reds in front against the Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday.
01:06 - Craig Goodwin's goal for @AdelaideUnited at 01:06 on the clock in today's #WSWvADL match is the fourth quickest goal scored by an #AUFC player in #ALeague history. Blink. pic.twitter.com/FJL7JiQrXq— OptaJason (@OptaJason) February 27, 2021
The 29-year-old winger is a fan favourite at Hindmarsh, and he instantly showed Carl Veart precisely what the team had been missing in recent weeks.
United have many talented young attackers, but having that reliable and more experienced outlet will only help them in a finals push.
Plus, there is no better South Australian role model for Kusini Yengi, Yaya Dukuly and Mohamed Toure to learn from and follow.
The Award For Best Jose Mourinho Impersonation
This award goes to Mark Rudan, who couldn't control his euphoria as Victor Sanchez gave Western United a famous derby win away from home against the Victory.
Commentator Brenton Speed hit the nail on the head, comparing Rudan to Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho.
The Tottenham manager famously ran down the touchline at Old Trafford in 2004, when his Porto side snatched a last-minute winner in the Champions League.
Mark Rudan a-top the stack, you're kidding pic.twitter.com/Qvtv8K2oKW— Football Nation Radio (@FNR_Radio) February 27, 2021
A Melbourne Derby win isn't on the same level as a Champions League knockout tie.
Still, given the see-sawing nature of the fixture, you can understand the release of emotion.
Given the crazy fixtures Western have been involved in so far this campaign, don't rule out another chance to see Rudan going bonkers down the touchline.
The Assist Of The Season So Far Award
This award goes to Markel Susaeta for a mesmerising assist on Sunday against Sydney FC.
The Spaniard's performance epitomised why we have foreign marquees in the league, adding that touch of class to a drab Macarthur display to give them the three points.
Susaeta glided past several Sydney defenders with ease, getting out of a congested area near the corner flag before squaring the ball across for Matt Derbyshire to finish.