METROSTARS will play on soccer’s national stage for the third straight year after capping their stunning mid-season revival with silverware.
Liam Wooding’s 52nd minute strike was enough for the Klemzig club to seal a 1-0 victory over Adelaide Comets in the FFA Cup SA final at Hindmarsh Stadium on Saturday.
The triumph secured MetroStars’ fourth Federation Cup and a place in the national knockout competition’s round of 32, where they will be paired with an A-League or interstate side.
It also represented a remarkable turnaround under caretaker coach Robbie Saraceno, who has tasted defeat just twice in 10 matches in all competitions since taking over the reins in April.
But it could have been a different story after a first half where the clearer chances fell to cup final debutants Comets.
Midfielder Jack Bladen picked up the ball on the edge of area in the 28th minute and shifted it wide to Davide Zerillo whose powerful angled drive was well saved MetroStars’ keeper Callum Piantadosi.
Evan Kostopoulos wasted another golden opportunity four minutes before the break when a 50-50 ball broke to him inside the area but he slid his finish wide of the post.
MetroStars, which won the National Premier Leagues title in 2014 and made the last 16 of the FFA Cup last year, scored the only goal of the game early in the second half.
Justin Davis’ long throw was flicked on at the near post by Travis Dodd and Wooding was on hand to poke the ball home from close range.
Comets went closest to an equaliser 10 minutes from time when substitute Theo Balomenos’ clipped cross was headed narrowly wide by Andreas Wiens.
But the MetroStars defence, led superbly by man of the match Tim Henderson, stood tall to secure a place in Thursday’s FFA Cup draw.