The A-League team of the (half-)decade

When your editor asked The dirt from Down Under to come up with an A-League team of the decade, the blog’s first response was “sure thing, although the league has only been around for five years!”

Never one to let time constraints ruin an old-fashioned popularity contest, the blog has assembled a crack squad of A-League elites that would surely give Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering Barcelona side a run for their money (or maybe not).

Goalkeeper: Eugene Galekovic has been far and away the A-League’s most consistent goalkeeper, and the former Melbourne Victory and current Adelaide United custodian could soon be rewarded with a move to the German Bundesliga.

Right-back: Matthew Kemp has been a grafter of the most versatile kind for Adelaide United and now Melbourne Victory, with the much-improved defender a possible bolter for Australia’s World Cup squad.

Central defender: Kevin Muscat is one of the most controversial figures in the A-League, but the one-club veteran has been a colossus at the back for Melbourne Victory.

Keen as Muscat

Central defender: Craig Moore won few friends by walking out on Brisbane Roar, but the gritty Socceroos defender proved that it was possible for Australia’s best players to turn out in the A-League and still play regularly for the national team.

Left-back: Dean Heffernan is an unpopular figure with away fans, but the Central Coast Mariners defender is renowned for his lung-busting runs and tenacious attitude, which will soon be utilised by expansion club Melbourne Heart.  

Right midfield: Travis Dodd has endured some inconsistent spells during his time at Adelaide United, but on his day the tricky winger is unstoppable, with his blistering pace and penetrative runs a vital component of the Reds’ game plan.

Tricky Travis

Holding midfielder: Dwight Yorke may have only spent one full season in Australia, but his impact was immense. ‘All-Night Dwight’ started by scoring Sydney FC’s first-ever league goal and finished by skippering the Sky Blues to the inaugural A-League crown.

Attacking midfielder: Carlos Hernandez arrived in the A-League palpably overweight and out of form, only for the Costa Rican import to silence the critics and establish himself as the best attacking midfielder the competition has ever seen.

Left midfielder: Matt Thompson is the ‘Mr Versatile’ of the A-League. The popular Newcastle Jets captain is also one of the most improved players in the country, as he gets set to take his never-say-die attitude to new club Melbourne Heart next season.

Forward: Archie Thompson has been much maligned in a Socceroos jersey, but the pacy striker has been outstanding as Melbourne Victory’s inaugural marquee signing, and he tops the A-League’s all-time goalscoring charts.

Golden Archie

Forward: Robbie Fowler raised eyebrows when he moved to Australia, but despite turning out for strugglers North Queensland Fury, the Liverpudlian has scored goals aplenty and drawn fans through the gate for the club from tropical Townsville.

Substitutes: Michael Theoklitos (ex-Melbourne Victory), Jamie Harnwell (Perth Glory), Jason Culina (Gold Coast United), Shane Smeltz (Wellington Phoenix, Gold Coast United)

Coach: Ernie Merrick might appear to be about as much fun as a surfboard in the desert, but the dour tactician has proved his worth with two titles at the helm of Melbourne Victory.

So there you have it, an A-League Best XI that will probably have Sydney FC fans fuming, Perth Glory supporters whining and Wellington Phoenix well-wishers thinking “hey, we’re just happy to be here.”

Much like the league, then...

Team of the Decade: Portugal 
Team of the Decade: Italy

------------------------------------------------- More to read...

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