2018 FFA Cup – Preview
Rockdale City Suns vs Sydney FC
Ilinden Sports Centre
Wednesday 1 August 2018
Kick off: 7:30pm
After two preseason games which saw us score 8 unanswered goals, with very few shots on target against us, we are ready for the first competitive game of the season. We face Rockdale City Suns in the FFA Cup round of 32. We are of course the defending champions in this competition, meaning that we can’t just afford to treat it as another preseason kick around. This is far from the same team which won the competition last season, however, with no marquees and few foreign players at all to choose from.
The big question mark in terms of selection is of course who we will be using up front. In the two preseason games, Buhagiar and Brosque have played next to each other, and it is hard to see Corica going with anything else for this game unless he chooses to play Brosque up front alone with Buhagiar out wide. It might be a good opportunity to get Lokoli-Ngoy some minutes too. If we play a 4-4-2 it is likely we will play the same way that we did against the Sutherland Sharks, with De Silva and Ninkovic out wide but cutting in to play through the middle a lot. This will mean that we will be reliant on the full backs to provide the bulk of the width, even more so than we were under Arnold. At the back, Warland will likely start next to Wilkinson, given that new recruit Jop van der Linden isn’t expected in the country until this week. Finally, given that Cisak played against Sutherland and Redmayne wasn’t selected at all, it is possible we will see a change of goalkeeper. However, if Redmayne is fit, it is hard to see him being removed from that position.
Over on Rockdale’s side, there’s a lot to suggest that this is going to be a tougher game than our previous two. Rockdale currently sits fifth in the NPL NSW, with three wins and a draw in their last four games. Rockdale have been free-scoring this season, with 37 goals from 40 games. There are signs of weakness, however, because even though they have scored 37, they have conceded 40. I imagine they will be looking to be less free-flowing against us, however this still implies some gaps might open up. Alec Urosevski leads the goal scoring with ten, demonstrating that goals can come from all over the pitch.
There are a number of players who will be familiar to Sydney FC fans in this Rockdale outfit:
- Paul Reid – The Rockdale player/manager made 11 appearances in Sky Blue in the 2012-13 season and is currently also employed by Sydney FC in a community engagement role.
- Trent McClenahan – Also a Sky Blue player in 2012-13, making 15 appearances in that time.
- I also have to mention that Ante Covic is in goals for Rockdale. I am sure the Cove will make him feel very welcome.
Meanwhile, the grandstand at the ground (seating about 600 people) has been sold out, but GA and Cove tickets are still available here – https://www.moshtix.com.au/v2/event/rockdale-city-suns-fc-v-sydney-fc/105503