PREVIEW: Sydney FC Ready For DoubleHeader Derby

Under the guidance of Ufuk Talay and Ante Juric, Sydney FC’s Isuzu-UTE and Liberty A-League squads will venture to CommBank Stadium to take on their cross-city rivals, the Western Sydney Wanderers in a thrilling double-header derby.

The iconic match-up this Saturday evening will put two of the A-Leagues most promising sides to the test as each squad aim to keep their Premiers Plate dreams alive.

Ufuk Talay’s Sky Blues squad remain undefeated for six rounds after a fiery 1-1 draw with Melbourne City last weekend. Proving to be in strong form, the Men’s squad still have eyes firmly on the top spot on the ladder, with Wanderers one place above them.

Currently undefeated in their last four matches, the third placed Sydney FC Women side have also had an incredible campaign ahead of the looming final six fixtures of the Liberty A-League competition. Their opponents are also in contention for Finals football making tomorrow a huge clash.

Ones To Watch: Hayden Matthews and Taylor Ray

19 year-old Hayden Matthews has had a dream start to his A-League career. Joining the Sydney FC academy eight years ago, the young gun made his debut in January and has been a starter for Ufuk Talay’s squad in the past three rounds. Paired with schoolmate Jake Girdwood-Reich, the centre-back has received a performance of the round accolade for his efforts against Adelaide United in Round 17.

For Sydney FC’s former Academy skipper this will be his first ever Sydney Derby this weekend. The defender will go head-to-head with the likes of Nicolas Milanovic and Brandon Borello following the latter’s return from injury. Despite the gritty battle that lies ahead for the newest signing, his form thus far has been nothing short of consistent and he will be looking to do the same this Saturday.

The Sydney Derby will be familiar territory for 22 year-old Taylor Ray who has made eight appearances against the Western Sydney Wanderers since her debut season in 2017.

The midfielder will be looking to cement her spot in the starting XI with a number of players absent due to the AFC U20’s Women’s Asian Cup which begins this weekend and features six Sydney FC players.

In the last 12 months, Ray has averaged a 65{98698ff7ed92b99d4e0cecdfdc9e4dccf4922e0a04ff9db373daf4aa83b73fe2} success rate in duels and 32 touches per game. The Sky Blue does not shy away from a challenge, averaging two intercepts per game.

Ray’s efforts in the midfield have contributed to Sydney FC’s impressive clean sheet tally whilst Ray will have to keep a close eye on Western Sydney Wanderers goal magnet, Sophie Harding, who returns from Matildas duty.

Taylor Ray controls the ball during a match between Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers at Leichhardt Oval in 2021.

Head-To-Head 2023/2024 Season: Men’s

8-4-6WSW – RECORD – SYD8-3-7
11-9-16H2H HISTORY16-9-11
5-5-9H2H AT COMMBANK9-5-5
51.1{98698ff7ed92b99d4e0cecdfdc9e4dccf4922e0a04ff9db373daf4aa83b73fe2}POSSESSION PG55.1{98698ff7ed92b99d4e0cecdfdc9e4dccf4922e0a04ff9db373daf4aa83b73fe2}
17.0SHOTS PG19.2
3.3SAVES PG2.9

Head-To-Head 2023/2024 Season: Women’s

7-2-7WSW – RECORD – SYD7-6-3
2-2-19H2H HISTORY19-2-2
1-0-10H2H AT COMMBANK10-0-1
44.9{98698ff7ed92b99d4e0cecdfdc9e4dccf4922e0a04ff9db373daf4aa83b73fe2}POSSESSION PG46.5{98698ff7ed92b99d4e0cecdfdc9e4dccf4922e0a04ff9db373daf4aa83b73fe2}
14.5SHOTS PG16.8
4.4SAVES PG2.5
Zac De Jesus kicks the ball during the last Sydney Derby.

Team News:

The Men will lose Luke Brattan due to a one-match suspension after receiving five yellow cards this season. Talay’s squad will also miss Aaron Gurd, Patrick Wood, and Joe Lacey who are each recovering from their respective injuries. Jack Rodwell and Wataru Kamijo are both back on the training field and could be in contention.

The Women will miss Indiana Dos Santos, Jynaya Dos Santos, Maddie Caspers, Tahlia Franco and Zara Kruger who are currently overseas representing the Young Matildas. Fiona Worts and Nat Tobin will remain on the sideline whilst they recover from long-term injuries. Shea Connors and Lucy Johnson are back in the mix.

What Victory Will Mean:

With only one point separating the Sky Blue Men and their cross town rivals on the ladder, a victory at CommBank would be critical to cementing their position in the top five. If Macarthur FC falls to Melbourne City, Sydney FC could shake up the ladder and move into the top four. Securing three points would edge the team closer to lifting the Premiers Plate and they have a game in hand on their rivals above.

Jaiden Kucharksi takes a strike.

After a stint of unpredictable weather resulting in an abandoned game and an international break, Sydney FC’s Liberty A-League squad returns to action holding third position. After dropping from equal second, a win against the seventh placed Western Sydney Wanderers could assist the Sky Blues closing to two points of ladder leaders Western United if they lose to the Brisbane Roar.

Last Time Out:

Ufuk Talay’s and Marko Rudan’s sides last went head-to-head in November 2023 which saw the Sky Blues host the Wanderers at Allianz Stadium. Sydney FC created multiple opportunities, but they struggled to capitalise. After an injured Brandon Borello was removed form the field, young midfielder Zac Sapsford came on in his place and found the net in the second half. Despite their loss, the Sky Blues held 59{98698ff7ed92b99d4e0cecdfdc9e4dccf4922e0a04ff9db373daf4aa83b73fe2} of ball possession and took 19 shots, six of which were on target.

Ante Juric’s Sky Blues hosted the Western Sydney Wanderers at Allianz Stadium for the opening round of the 2023/2024 season. It was a narrow contest with only 4{98698ff7ed92b99d4e0cecdfdc9e4dccf4922e0a04ff9db373daf4aa83b73fe2} separating their average ball possession for the match. Whilst the Wanderers made a comeback in the second half, an opening half goal from Kirsty Fenton and strike from Fiona Worts from Fiona Worts proved to be clinical.

Sky Blue Women celebrate after 2-0 victory over rivals.

It is sure to be a thrilling evening of football that will cause a change on the ladder. You can cheer on the Sky Blues at Commbank Stadium or broadcast via Paramount+.

Match Details: Women

Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC
Liberty A-League Round 19
Saturday 2nd of March, 2024
CommBank Stadium, Sydney, NSW
Kick Off: 5:00PM
Broadcast Live: Paramount + and 10Play
Tickets: Click Here

Match Details: Men

Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC
Isuzu-UTE A-League Round 19
Saturday 2nd of March, 2024
CommBank Stadium, Sydney, NSW
Kick Off: 7:45 PM
Broadcast Live: 10 Bold, Paramount + and 10Play
Tickets: Click Here