Sydney FC’s pre-season couldn’t have gone much better for Head Coach Steve Corica with the club’s A-League Men unbeaten in ten matches, and capping it off by lifting the Australia Cup.
Corica will also take delight in the early success of his recruitment with Brazilian stars Fabio Gomes and Gabriel Lacerda settling in with ease, with the former grabbing a match winning double in the Australia Cup Final.
Jordan Courtney-Perkins is another good pick-up from Polish club Rakow with the young Olyroos defender set to deputise for Socceroos full back Joel King again this weekend.
Corica’s faith in youth has paid dividends in recent weeks with midfielder Corey Hollman starting every game, after last season on the sidelines, and Jake Girdwood-Reich getting a settled run in the team at centre half.
Jaiden Kucharski has also featured heavily and played crucial roles in games during the Cup run.
Add to that the promotions of Mitch Glasson, Zac De Jesus, Gus Hoefsloot, Matthew Scarcella and Wataru Kamijo, plus the signing of Nathan Amanatidis, and the squad’s average age of 23.8 is the youngest in Sky Blue history.
Patrick Wood has been on fire with four goals in the Australia Cup to give real competition to lead the line while the form of wingers Joe Lolley and Robert Mak has been exceptional, signifying even more is to come from them this season.
Both Mak and Lolley made their Isuzu-UTE A-League home debuts for the club in this same fixture putting in fine displays despite Melbourne running out 3-2 winners.
This season the pair have managed a full pre-season in Sky Blue and are already settled so have no need to hit the ground running. So, expect fireworks this Saturday night at Allianz Stadium.
Luke Brattan, undefeated as Captain and with a 100% trophy record wearing the armband, will lead the team officially for the first time in the A-League this weekend. He will be backed by the experience of Anthony Caceres, Rhyan Grant, Max Burgess and Andrew Redmayne who will have just returned from Socceroos duty 48 hours prior.
As for Melbourne, it has been a relatively quiet off-season with the A-League’s second biggest club knocked out of the Australia Cup in the play-offs, before the competition had even started.
However, they’ve made a number of signings notably former Socceroos winger Daniel Arzani, as well as ex-Sydney FC Academy graduate Ryan Teague from Familicao in Portugal.
They’ve also brought in French-Moroccan central midfielder Zinédine Machach from Greek second tier club Ionikos Nikeas, Fabian Monge from APIA and re-signed former left back Adama Traore.
Like the Sky Blues they’ve promoted a number of Academy players.
Gone are the likes of Nani, Josh Brillante, Tomi Juric and George Timotheou.
Another similarity with Sydney FC is a new captain for Melbourne – with Roderick Miranda taking the reins this season.
They could also welcome back 2021/22 Johnny Warren Medalist Jake Brimmer from long term injury after eight months on the sidelines.
Despite the relatively modest transfer business by their standards, the dark blues have seen some impressive pre-season results defeating Dandenong City 6-0, Northcote City 4-0 away and most recently Perth Glory 4-0 in Western Australia.
Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Isuzu-UTE A-League Round One
Saturday 21st October 2023
Allianz Stadium, Sydney, NSW
Kick Off: 7:45pm AEDT
Gates Open: 6:45pm AEDT
Broadcast Live: Paramount+ & 10Bold
Tickets: Click Here