FFA Cup 2018 Final Player to Watch: Craig Goodwin

After ending a two-year spell with Dutch outfit Sparta Rotterdam, Craig Goodwin returned to his roots in May when he signed on for his second Adelaide United stint.

A matter of months later, Goodwin could play a vital role in helping his hometown club achieve a historic second FFA Cup Final-winning feat.

The 26-year-old has already won the Hyundai A-League Premiership and Championship double with the Reds.

And he’s looming as one of the players who could potentially decide the FFA Cup Final 2018 and land more silverware for the Reds.

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Goodwin was primarily deployed as an attack-minded left fullback in his first tenure in the City of Churches.

But the former Australian U-23 international looms as one of Marco Kurz’s biggest attacking weapons when the Reds face Sydney FC on October 30.

The German coach will be hugely impressed with the way his May signing has asserted his authority on the left flank of Adelaide’s attack so far.

Moreover, if there were any doubts surrounding Goodwin’s ability to be a genuine match winner, those questions have been answered emphatically.

He’s been the star of Adelaide’s run to the Final and got the ball rolling with a cleverly-taken free-kick goal and enthralling performance against Central Coast Mariners in the Round of 32.

But it was Goodwin’s impact in the following rounds against Queensland Lions and APIA Leichhardt Tigers that highlighted his value to the Adelaide cause.

Nominally stationed on the left-hand side, Goodwin popped up centrally to bury the lone goal in Adelaide’s 1-0 win over Lions FC.

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This has been a recurring trend of the Reds attacking play so far this season with both Goodwin and the likes of Ryan Kitto and Ryan Strain eager to trade positions on both wings to keep opponents guessing.

Meanwhile, Goodwin’s stunning strike against APIA Leichhardt in the Quarter Finals might just go down as the goal of the tournament.

Up until that point, Adelaide and the Tigers had gone blow for blow before Goodwin unleashed an unstoppable rocket from distance.

With Baba Diawara under an injury cloud and Apostolos Stamatelopoulos plying his trade for the Young Socceroos in Jakarta, the Reds have been reliant on Goodwin’s goal scoring ability, and he hasn’t let them down yet.

He’ll be equally important in setting them up for his side. Few possess a left foot as wicked as Adelaide’s flying left winger, and Goodwin’s devilish set-piece delivery and crossing ability pose a challenge for any defence.

Ultimately, Goodwin is the man who is both pulling the attacking strings and threading Adelaide’s all-round play together – and one that the Sky Blues must marshal closely to retain their FFA Cup title.

Craig Goodwin