Top Imports of the Westfield W-League Season: Veronica Latsko
Their milestone Westfield W-League campaign may have met a heartbreaking end, but Adelaide United will hope 2018/19 was the start of a life-long love affair with Veronica Latsko.
Adelaide had not finished a campaign outside of the bottom three prior to Latsko’s arrival on loan from Houston Dash last October.
But there is no doubt the prolific 23-year-old forward was utterly critical to reversing the Reds’ fortunes.
The Pennsylvania-born striker’s nine goals helped fire United to the brink of a debut Finals Series appearance.
And although Ivan Karlovic’s side fell agonisingly short at the final hurdle, Latsko’s remarkable year in the front line is among the biggest positives to emerge for the re-born Reds.
With Latsko finding the net with ice-cool regularity and Adelaide boasting a water-tight defence, evidence of a re-formed United team was set in stone from the early weeks.
The former University of Virginia student opened her account Down Under in Round 2 in a 1-0 win over Brisbane, and confidence for both player and team soared from that point on.
By mid-December, Latsko had registered six goals in her first six appearances, including doubles against eventual Grand Finalists Perth Glory and Sydney FC, and had firmly established herself as a Golden Boot contender.
The month got even better too, with goals against Melbourne Victory and Newcastle Jets ensuring the Reds remained firmly in Premiership contention.
Little surprise she took out Westfield W-League Player of the Month for December.
Grinding to a halt
Unfortunately for Adelaide and Latsko, the Reds ran out of steam when the calendar changed over to 2019.
Having conquered the competition’s strongest contenders in the first half of the season, Karlovic’s side would slip up in three consecutive losses to Canberra United, Western Sydney Wanderers and Newcastle Jets, ultimately falling out of top-four contention.
Latsko found the net against the Wanderers, but her strike would prove to be a consolation effort in a 4-1 defeat, and the last time her name was on the scoresheet in 2018/19.
It was a premature end for a player who could well have challenged Sam Kerr for Golden Boot honours had Adelaide not faltered in the second half of the campaign.
Adelaide fans will be desperate to avenge that next year, hopefully with Latsko leading the charge.