Adelaide United captain Isaias says the Reds’ strong form can build the foundation for another A-League championship challenge. Picture: George Salpigtidis/AAP
Adelaide United captain Isaias says the Reds’ strong form can build the foundation for another A-League championship challenge. Picture: George Salpigtidis/AAP

Adelaide United shaping well in championship race

ADELAIDE United is a win or draw away from eclipsing the unbeaten home run that fired it to its sole A-League championship.

And Reds leaders, past and present, believe maintaining Hindmarsh Stadium as a fortress may be the key to again challenging for top honours this season.

Third-placed United will look to extend its unblemished home streak to nine league matches when it hosts second-ranked Perth Glory on Sunday.

If successful, it will surpass the club's eight-game stretch without loss on its own turf - the foundation for its 2015-16 title success under Guillermo Amor.

Captain Isaias said the current undefeated run, which dated back to a 2-1 loss to Brisbane Roar on December 30 last year, was building confidence for another push for silverware.

"It's massive for us," Isaias said.

"We know that the (Hindmarsh) pitch is one of the best in the A-League and obviously with the help of our supporters, we are much stronger.

"I hope we can keep the same momentum going for a long time."

The Reds opened their league season with back-to-back home draws against Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets last month.

It followed the three wins and three draws at Hindmarsh they closed out last campaign with, before their elimination final defeat on the road to Melbourne Victory.

Add in last Tuesday's FFA Cup final triumph over Sydney FC, played out before a near capacity home crowd, and Adelaide's record is even more formidable.

But United remains some way off its best run on SA soil.

From round 10 in 2013-14 to round nine the next season, the Reds  went 14 matches and just eight days short of a year without defeat on their own patch.

Captain Isaias lifts the FFA Cup following Adelaide United's victory over Sydney FC in the final. Picture: Sarah Reed
Captain Isaias lifts the FFA Cup following Adelaide United's victory over Sydney FC in the final. Picture: Sarah Reed

Isaias, who was also part of that Reds side during Josep Gombau's first term at the helm, recalled the streak came after just one victory in his side's opening nine fixtures.

"When you start (a season) a little bit slow and the results don't come for us, all the players stay strong together and the fans keep going to the stadium and supporting you," the Spaniard said.

"That makes you stronger and that gives you hunger to win more games.

"This is the most important part of playing at home."

Adelaide's dominant home record extended to its sole season in the former National Soccer League.

Aurelio Vidmar skippered the club in its inaugural campaign in 2003-04, when it went eight matches unbeaten at Hindmarsh and lost just two games at the venue all campaign.

The Reds football director, who later coached them to the 2008 Asian Champions League final on the back of five home clashes without defeat, said United's passionate fans played a crucial role in its success.

Aurelio Vidmar during his reign as Adelaide United coach.
Aurelio Vidmar during his reign as Adelaide United coach.

"You've got to win your home games to give yourself a real chance," Vidmar said.

"I was just watching highlights of some of the past (Asian) Champions League games and that brought back a lot of memories of how crazy it was.

"That's the sort of support we need and we had it here last Tuesday (for the FFA Cup final).

"It was a full house, the supporters behind the goals were magnificent singing for 90 minutes and the players really appreciate that.

"It's a different feel when the atmosphere is like that ... and the players will always lift."



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