Sydney FC will play their one and only Friday night match this season when they take on Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium. These 90 minutes could be pivotal in their finals hope as a win will show their deserving place inside the top six meanwhile a loss could see them drop out of the finals positions all-together.
Currently Sydney FC remain in sixth place for the interim with three teams below them within striking distance and Wellington Phoenix in 5th, three points ahead. Adelaide have the chance to jump into first place should Melbourne Victory beat Melbourne City on Wednesday night and sit six points clear of Central Coast Mariners in 3rd.
Sydney FC come into this clash against the Reds after a pulsating 3-3 draw with Western United. The Sky Blues completely dominated the contest, having more possession, more shots and overall more chances but failed to get the three points. They only managed to salvage a point at the death with a beautiful strike from Robert Mak which nestled in the far corner.
The Sky Blues last victory came in a 1-0 victory over Melbourne Victory more than a month ago and appeared to be back to their free-flowing best after finding the going tough in recent games.
Of concern to Steve Corica will be the manner in which they conceded the goals after they came following spells of good Sydney FC pressure. Adelaide United are known as being a counter attacking side and if Sydney don’t take their chances on Friday night, they could be punished by the speedy attack that they have.
Robert Mak since heading away to spend time with Slovakia during the International Break appears to have re-found his goalscoring form after netting three times in the space of a week. One came for his country and the other two against Western United at Allianz Stadium. He is now the top scorer for the club with seven goals however Adam Le Fondre is back fit and will be challenging for a starting spot and looking to catch Mak as he sits one goal behind on six.
For Adelaide United, they will be looking to maintain their amazing run of form which has seen them undefeated since January, a 4-0 collapse away at the Mariners. They have won their last four matches and have scored freely throughout the matches too. 16 goals have come in their last four matches with nine of them coming at home. Their other home game prior, a 4-4 draw with Western Sydney Wanderers. Fair to say they know the way to goal. At the other end though, they aren’t keeping it tight having conceded 36 goals all season with a few teams having a better record in that column.
Last week they travelled to CommBank Stadium on Friday night to take on the Wanderers and a Ben Warland brace handed them all three points as they survived late pressure from the hosts to take maximum returns back to South Australia. Late in the game there was a flashpoint as Nesteroy Irankunda clashed with Calem Niewenhof and following the foul, Marcelo was shown a straight red card for serious foul play. The Red survived that flashpoint and are looking pretty as they head into the back half of the season.
They appear to be having success from corners and set pieces as they scored all three goals on Friday night from dead ball situations. Of the 47 goals that they have scored this season, 16 of them have come from set pieces, highlighting their danger in the final third and in the air. Craig Goodwin continues to lead the way for the South Australians with ten goals and ten assists and if Sydney FC are hoping to get anything from the match, must keep him quiet.
In the reverse fixture this season, Adelaide United travelled to Allianz Stadium and managed to walk away with a point after playing more than half of the game a player light when Hiroshi Ibusuki was shown a straight red card. Two goals in the second half to the Sky Blues were cancelled out by former player Harry Van der Saag as the hosts dominated possession without finding the end rewards.
Overall, both sides have one of the most even records in football as Sydney have won 25, Adelaide 23 and the other 12 matches drawn. The last meeting at Coopers Stadium, a late Tom Heward-Belle save took maximum points back to New South Wales with Bobo and Elvis Kamsoba’s goals proving the difference.
This time around, with a long weekend, Coopers Stadium will be busy and the atmosphere will be one not to miss.
Ones to Watch
Sydney FC – Robert Mak
The Slovak appears to have re-found his goal-scoring form after nabbing a brace against Western United last weekend, the second of which was a very well taken individual strike. This follows on from a goal for his country against Bosnia and Herzegovina which appears to have rekindled his season. Sitting atop the Sydey FC goalscoring charts, the Slovak is beginning to link up well with Joe Lolley and Adam Le Fondre again as they cause havoc throughout the forward third.
He has created 31 chances this season from 1605 minutes of play. Add to that his seven goals and one assist and you can see that he has settled into Australian football really well. 59% of his shots have been on target and has completed 13 successful dribbles.
On Friday night, expect him to revel in the noisy atmosphere and be at his best.
Craig Goodwin – Adelaide United
Craig Goodwin is having one of the best seasons in his life as he continues his form from the World Cup. Netting against eventual runners up France, the winger doesn’t shy away from the local comp and his numbers this season have shown that after he has scored 10 times and assisted 10. These are numbers which are rarely seen Down Under and from a dead ball situation can be quite deadly.
Most of what Adelaide United have achieved this season has been due to Goodwin and he remains humble with his beginnings as was seen in the A-Leagues All Access documentary. Goodwin has created 69 chances this season and boasts an expected assists tally of 7.30. He appears to be taking the opportunities which fall his way having only missed two big chances throughout the season.
As someone who has scored many goals this season at Coopers Stadium, expect Goodwin to be in and around the scoresheet on Friday night.
Adelaide United v Sydney FC
Isuzu UTE A-League Round 23
Friday 7th April 2023
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide, SA
Kick Off: 5:00pm AEST (4:30pm Local)
Broadcast Live: Paramount+
Tickets: Click Here & use code: AWAYBAYSUPPORT2223