Travis Dodd may be on the verge of defecting to Perth Glory but in the eyes of Adelaide United fans their captain practically walked on water tonight as his clinical finish ended the Wellington Phoenix's A-League title bid.

Dodd, whose future at the club remains uncertain, broke a tense deadlock with 20 minutes remaining in the opening elimination semifinal at a sodden Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide when calmly slotting the ball past Danny Vukovic to secure United a 1-0 victory.

One of the most impressive and industrious Adelaide players on display, Dodd timed his run onto a defence-piercing Sergio van Dijk pass perfectly, beating the offside trap before giving the advancing Vukovic no chance.

Swirling winds and driving rain ensured the Phoenix players felt at home and unfortunately that was not the only familiar aspect of their 16th - and final away trip - of season 2010-11.

Their maiden win at Hindmarsh on February 5 - just their second away from home this campaign - was ultimately avenged by Adelaide, who advance to meet the winner of tomorrow's second sudden death semi between Gold Coast United and Melbourne Victory.

Wellington head home tomorrow having failed to match last season's historic post-season where they progressed to the preliminary final before being eliminated by eventual champions Sydney FC.

Adelaide's first wet-weather game of the year on home soil ensured Wellington adapted slightly better to conditions and belied their underdog tag by dominating the opening half, attempting eight shots to United's three.

The hosts and a hardy crowd of 10,285 endured a frustrating wait until the 31st minute for their first clear cut opening when Marcos Flores benefited from Nick Ward losing his footing near the edge of the box.

The Argentinian midfielder then sweetly poked the ball through Andrew Durante's legs and regained possession but blasted over the goal as Vukovic advanced.

A minute later Van Dijk, the competition's leading goal scorer almost ended a three-game barren spell when he headed a rare wide from Adelaide's solitary corner of the half.

In contrast the Phoenix dominated the dead ball situations in the opening 45 minutes, earning five corners in quick succession though only Ward came close to scoring when his acrobatic shot forced a sharp save from Eugene Galekovic.

Vukovic was not the only late-season hero for the Phoenix unable to contribute to a third successive triumph over United.

Teenage sensation Marco Rojas was well contained by Cameron Watson while inspirational Paul Ifill's injection at the 62nd minute mark was also immaterial as Adelaide ruled the final stages, although Durante went perilously close to an equaliser when heading on to the bar seven minutes after Dodd's celebration.

Rojas, whose safety was a concern for his captain Durante before the game, gained the Phoenix's first free kick but the 19-year-old was not impeded by a malicious challenge and received fair treatment throughout.

Slippery underfoot conditions did not assist the timing of tackles but there was no mitigating factors when Manny Muscat - who returned from a two-game suspension last weekend, started a new card collection in the fourth minute for a clumsy rugby-style tackle on Adam Hughes.

Flores was also walking a disciplinary tightrope from the 37th minute after foolishly tugging Ben Sigmund's shirt as he surged down the middle of the park.

Ward was also cautioned for tripping Andwele Slory and was later fortunate to escape further censure when reacting to a hard challenge from the Dutchman.

The contest doubled as a farewell for Glory-bound Vukovic and Central Coast Mariner's acquisition Troy Hearfield, who signed off on a good note with a strong performance in midfield.

- NZPA