A trip to South Australia and a clash with the Lady Reds of Adelaide United will kick-start the 2023/24 Liberty A-League season for Canberra United this Sunday.
With a new season comes new hopes. The smell of freshly mown grass, the sparkle of new kits in the spring sunshine. The first appearance of new signings, whether imported or home grown. And the excitement and expectation of what is to come.
Canberra United embark on their sixteenth season of elite level football in the A-League having narrowly missed out on a top four place, and finals football, in their nerve-shredding last campaign.
Goal difference, the minutest of margins, was all that stopped Njegosh Popovich guiding his multi-faceted squad into the play-offs, the semi-finals were only two goals away from fulfilment, and the aim for the new season is to rectify that and take that final step as the team bid to add to their three Premiers and two Champions crowns.
New faces will, as mentioned, emerge. New signings have been arriving at McKellar Park throughout the off-season, including the return of fans favourite Maria ‘Cote’ Rojas, the Chilean superstar back in the forest green.
That’s right, the forest green. A throwback to the past that will hopefully encourage the present to succeed in similar endeavours, the mix of youthful effervescence, sprinkled with the experience and gold dust of genuine quality in Rojas and Michelle Heyman, the latter edging ever closer to that century of goals.
United’s last visit to Adelaide resulted in a 2-0 success, a brace of goals within three minutes of each other from Heyman and Grace Maher doing the damage, the same pair on target in the return match played at McKellar Park. Maher opened the scoring from the spot, before Heyman bagged a hat-trick.
The visitors would love a similar result to start this, the most unique of seasons. A full 22-round campaign is set to get underway, a long and arduous journey that will test each squad to the full. There will be ups and downs along the way, the full squad will be utilised, and there will be talking points aplenty.
And it all starts this weekend. Football is back in the Liberty A-League. And don’t you just love it?
Sunday 15 October 2023
Adelaide United v Canberra United
(Coopers Stadium, 15:00)
LIVE ON PARAMOUNT+ / 10PLAY