That’s it, no more red and white against Sydney FC. I’m calling it.
After a crazy turn of events during the World Cup break, we have crossed state lines with our Socceroos heroes and a newly appointed manager only to go down in an entertaining display.
Although we did not come away with the points, there are plenty of positives to be proud of.
Sydney started off the better side with an abundance of chances going their way, mainly due to their positive passing movement and sharpness on the ball. City worked their way into the game with chances of our own, eventually being gifted an opportunity by City-agent Brattan who handled the ball in the box, much to Jamie Maclaren’s delight. Smashing the ball past Papa Redmayne, our #9's success from the spot only enabled Sydney's immediate reply, with the Sky Blues equalising from kick-off.
Chances passed by for the remainder of the first half, with Sydney unlucky not to get in front. After the break, our general play continued to be positive with the game flowing nicely. However, despite Thomas Glover’s fantastic reflexes, Adam Le Fondre nodded home a rebound to put the home side in front in the 61st minute. That was to be the final goal of the game, with Marco Tilio lucklessly hitting the crossbar in stoppage time.
What have we learned from Rado’s first game in charge? Let’s dive in:
Not panic stations yet
Sure, to the untrained eye our first loss of the season coming under new management may raise some eyebrows, but there is a lot to unpack here. Last night’s game was a great advertisement for the league with plenty of forward movement, talented players and spectacular football on show. We were part of that.
Sydney played the best football they've produced all season, probably still on a high from the Celtic FC win a few weeks ago. Our defence could have tidied up at times, especially leading up to Sydney’s first goal as Jordan Bos should have simply cleared his lines. These are the one-percenters that make or break the outcome.
Our general play on the ball was quite impressive at times, passing the ball between the lines with confidence, but to no real avail. Despite being confident on the ball, we must translate that into meaningful chances. At times Valon Berisha was hesitant to take a shot, rather opting to flick the ball to a teammate in search of a clear-cut opportunity which was not to come.
The Derby is up next, and I have hope that we will make an impact if those two things are worked on during the week.
Up all night to get Leckie
We didn't even need further proof after his outstanding World Cup performance, but wow, what a player we have on our hands. Mathew Leckie played very well last night, often bursting past his opposing number to create a chance or get chopped down, for that is the only way to stop him.
The ability to hold off a player is one of the most important facets of the modern game as tactical fouls become more apparent, particularly when a heroic player – such as Leckie – is lining up against you. The Socceroo displayed his poise and experience against Sydney FC on surely tired legs, creating chances for himself, and was unlucky not to get a goal.
You would certainly think that it is a dream come true for young wingers such as Tilio, Raphael Borges Rodrigues and even Bos that they are able to learn from one of the greatest Socceroos of this generation. We can hope that his experience and knowledge of the game is being handed down to these new players of the future, as our veteran legend is absolutely the difference maker.
New manager… when?
Rado Vidosic has had considerable success with our Women’s side since 2018, that is without a doubt. However, a loss in his first match in charge for the Men’s side is not ideal. I personally think he can do the job, but we as fans will want to know exactly where (and specifically, who with) our future lies.
There are plenty of fantastic candidates that will be making themselves known to the City Football Group across the world as our great club becomes an attractive stepping stone to those wanting to make an impact on the global stage, such as PK has done by securing a move to Europe. I’ve said it before, but young coach Des Buckingham fits the bill superbly.
A massive concern is that the club dawdles on the decision for too long; this isn't ideal for anyone. Rado will only want to know where his future lies with the club, and we do not want to keep the focus away from football for a prolonged period of time during an A-League season, which we know is quite short.
Get our next permanent manager in. Easier said than done, but it must be done.
On another day, we come away with three points, but it was not to be.
Tomorrow is a new day, and the Derby is coming up in less than a week.
Unleash hell, boys.