After a stellar season and a stunning finals series, mum and dad are sure to be happy with Sydney FC’s report card this semester.

This season:

Regular Season – 2nd (16W, 4D, 7L)

Finals Series – Won Grand Final

AFC Champions League – Group Stage

FA Cup – Lost Cup Final

Top Scorer – Adam Le Fondre (18 goals)

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Season summary  

After finishing 2nd on the ladder and going on to win the Grand Final, it’s safe to say that Sydney FC have had a pretty good season. With 16 wins, 4 draws and 7 losses, the Sky Blues deserve every success they have achieved this year. The squad is full of talent, with strength and quality through the park. The eagerness and drive for success is reverberated throughout the squad – they believed they were going to win the Grand Final, and they delivered.

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But if you thought the Sky Blues were good at the end of the regular competition, what they produced during the finals series is really something else. Their 6-1 triumph over Melbourne Victory in the Semi Final sent a message to the rest of the league, leaving Victory and Head Coach Kevin Muscat with a lot to ponder. Sydney FC were able to back it up the week after, winning the Grand Final on penalties against the Premiers of the competition, Perth Glory.

Areas of excellence

There’s been a number of positives for the Sky Blues throughout the season.

Mentally, they’re the strongest team in the league. Think about what they’ve gone through in the Grand Final alone. Travelling to Perth to play against a record crowd away from home. Beating the team who have been at the top spot since round four, eight points ahead of Sydney FC. Coming back from a fallacious disallowed goal, regaining composure to go on to win the Grand Final. They’re a team that was so motivated by their failure of reaching a Grand Final last season, that they were able to channel their energy and focus so they didn’t make the same mistake twice.

They’re a physically fit team, too. According to Michael Zullo, the Sky Blues have worked hard from preseason to make sure they were the fittest team in the competition. And it showed – Perth Glory looked worse for wear after 120 minutes in the Grand Final.

The individual players filling the team sheet are another area that Sydney FC has excelled in. A mixture of young and old, with a variety of players with different styles. They’ve got depth and experience, side by side with youth and speed. Adam Le Fondre scores the goals, and Milos Ninkovic sets him up. The enforcer, Alex Brosque, brings experience, whilst Rhyan Grant uses his speed and work ethic from one side of the field to the other. Sydney FC has great individuals, but together they make a great team.

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Areas in need of improvement

Due to a heavy schedule consisting of not only the A-League, but also the AFC Champions League, some of Sydney’s results throughout the season have suffered. A tired performance here and there saw the Sky Blues drop points through inconsistent performances.

Top student

Milos Ninkovic – the world renowned midfielder has been an asset to Sydney FC’s line-up since day one. The quality and speed of the 34-year-old marquee has made all the difference for the Sky Blues. With three goals and seven assists to his name, Ninkovic has contributed to almost a quarter of Sydney FC’s goals this season. Following a stellar Grand Final performance, the Serbian was awarded the Joe Marston Medal. Sydney FC’s Head Coach Steve Corica claimed that Ninkovic is Sydney FC’s best attacking midfielder in the history of the club, which ranks him above the likes of Alessandro Del Piero. Although the midfield maestro wins the top student accolade this time, Rhyan Grant and Andrew Redmayne (especially after his penalty shootout performance in the Grand Final) also deserve a considerable mention for all the work they’ve done on the field this year.

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Class clown

Reza Ghoochannejhad – the Iranian netted the penalty that gave Sydney FC the Championship, but it wasn’t enough to relieve him of his class clown title. The 34-year-old striker has captained his country and played in two World Cups: but considering his experience at the top level, Ghoochannejhad didn’t live up to expectations for Sydney FC. After working hard to secure his signing within days of the January transfer window closing, Steve Corica and the Sky Blues should have received more in return from the striker. His on-field performances since joining the club have been up and down, and in 15 games, Ghoochannejhad has only managed to get his name on the scoresheet once. Although the striker has had fleeting moments of brilliance throughout the season, considering his pedigree, he simply hasn’t delivered for Sydney FC.

Outlook

After another successful season at Sydney FC which ended in winning the Championship, there doesn’t seem to be many changes looking ahead at the 2019/20 A-League season. Steve Corica has been successful as head coach at the club, and contracts with Rhyan Grant, Joshua Brilliante and Brandon O’Neill have all been extended (despite O’Neill initially looking to move overseas). The line-ups will look a little different next season with the omission of club Captain Alex Brosque after his retirement, but overall the Sky Blues seem to be set with a similar squad going into next season.

Grade: A+

 

Feature Image Credit: Jaime Castaneda

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Bachelor of journalism student from the University of Sydney covering Sydney FC. Passionate about writing and football.