A-League Men’s Round 2: Sydney FC vs Macarthur FC
Kick-off: 7:45pm (AEDT)
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah
Live stream: Paramount+
Last time they met: Sydney FC 0, Macarthur 1 (M. Derbyshire 36’) at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Macarthur FC travel to Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Saturday to take on Sydney FC.
The second all-Sydney affair in as many weeks for Steve Corica’s side marks the first home game in a campaign that will see the Sky Blues play their final season with the Kogarah venue as their primary home.
Coming off a tight arm wrestle with Western Sydney that ended scoreless with both sides claiming a point, Sydney will be looking for their first win of the season against the men from the south-western suburbs of our fair city.
Something that’s been spoken about time and time again on these boards is the idea the Anthony Caceres-Paulo Retre central midfield combination just does not work. More than a few eyebrows were raised when fans opened the game thread and discovered these two would partner up in the engine room once again.
With Luke Brattan going down with an injury last night in the FFA Cup win over Sydney Olympic at Belmore Sports Ground, it’s possible we’ll continue to see Caceres and Retre together for quite a while. I’m hoping Calem Nieuwenhof gets his chance soon, though, possibly as early as this game.
Another option in the middle of the park is Patrick Yazbek, who started against Olympic. I’ll confess to not knowing anything about this kid – but if he continues to develop, he could be getting some A-League game time going forward.
Based on the way Ante Milicic set his side up at McDonald James Stadium in their Round 1 clash with Wellington, there should be plenty of opportunities for the Sydney mids to find the front four.
Will we see the same attacking midfielders and forwards start this week? It’s an interesting one. With Milos Ninkovic getting closer and closer to retirement, his game time will certainly need to be managed in 2021-22.
Kosta Barbarouses and Bobo, missing from the Round 1 squad due to injury issues, could draw back in. It’s unlikely we see both, but perhaps a return for one of the pair in Round 2.
“It will be a couple of weeks, they’ll [Bobo and Barbarouses] come back at separate times,” Corica told reporters following the Sydney Derby.
If The Dreamboat starts from the bench, then surely we see Max Burgess start his first real game back in sky blue.
Adam Le Fondre will, of course, keep his place and it’s likely Trent Buhagiar will start. Don’t be surprised if there’s another cameo from promising 19-year-old Patrick Wood in the final third of the contest.
On Macarthur, it will be interesting to see the side Milicic selects. After an up-and-down performance in Round 1, the ex-Matildas boss will also be keen for his side to notch their first win of the season.
He certainly has some weapons at his disposal, with the likes of Ulises Dávila, Craig Noone, Lachlan Rose and Daniel De Silva all more than capable of creating chances and troubling the scorers themselves.
Tommy Oar and up-and-comer Al Hassan Toure could also feature from the start.
It was Rose, playing in the No.9 role for the Bulls, who levelled the game on Sunday evening when he met Noone’s corner with a classy side-foot volley. If the 22-year-old starts up top against Sydney, our CBs better be prepared to deal with his pace and high workrate.
Jordan Mutch brings decent pedigree to their engine room, but he certainly hasn’t played much football of late. The last time he managed a decent number of appearances in a single season was playing for Cardiff City in the EPL all the way back in 2013-14.