It’s been nothing short of a pre-season full of optimism for Melbourne Heart following the disappointing campaign that was 2012/13.
What happened last season?
The Heart were terrible on the road last season, claiming just one point from a possible 36 – not including the Melbourne derbies.
A team thin on quality eventually caved in as the season entered its final months, finishing in ninth place.
The Heart’s leaky defence conceded 40 goals and a poor attack scored just 31 times, only Perth Glory was worse.
What was most alarming was the team’s inability to pick up points or cause a result in losing situations, which was evident by their 16 losses from a possible 27 matches.
Aziz Behich (Bursaspor), Orlando Engelaar (PSV), Harry Kewell (Al-Gharafa, Qatar), Patrick Kisnorbo (Leeds United), Michael Mifsud (Valletta), Andrea Migliorini (Koper), Massimo Murdocca (Brisbane Roar), Iain Ramsay (Adelaide United), Tando Velaphi (Melbourne Victory), Rob Wielaert (Roda JC)
Eli Babalj (AZ Alkmaar), Clint Bolton (retired), Simon Colosimo (Dempo), Jamie Coyne (released), Cameron Edwards (Perth Glory), Fred (released), Richard Garcia (Sydney FC), Steven Gray (released), Vince Grella (retired), Marcel Meeuwis (FC Eindhoven), Josip Tadic (HNK Rijeka), Matt Thompson (released)
It’s been a pre-season of optimism for the Melbourne Heart after last season’s disappointment.
An awful away record was a major factor behind their capitulation, with the club failing to assert themselves in year number three.
Whether they have improved since last season under coach John Aloisi remains to be seen, but the ex-Socceroo appears to be putting his stamp on the squad given the plethora of changes.
If the ninth placed finish represented a transitional phase for the club, then this upcoming term must be one of consolidation, and redemption.
Without a pre-season win against A-League opposition over the break, many questions remain.
However, they do possess a squad that has injected some quality in the off-season, and gaining good results early in the campaign will be significant for potential success this season.
Strong home form is always crucial, but away from home they will be reliant on the experienced players they have drafted into the squad to lead by example and help pick up valuable results, then perhaps they can surprise a few.