Sydney FC 2012/13 Season Preview

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There can never be enough words for the injection Del Piero has given Sydney FC, but I’ll try to avoid mentioning him in every sentence. A hard team to judge this year, the Sky Blues will always aim for Finals football but if we’re honest in our appraisal they’ll probably miss out. 

Last season:
A-League: 5th 

They’ll win the league because…
…of that guy who’s sold them a lot of shirts, despite the knock-offs now in production overseas. Give him half a season to adjust to the A-League and find his place in the team. If coach Ian Crook can persist with youth (Antonis, Mallia, Chianese) for as long as it takes Ale to find form then expect the planets to align and the Bling to return on the pitch. 

The front third of the park looks menacing. Mallia is in form and Lovrek, Yau and Chianese will jostle for first team positions. If Dimi Petratos stops trying to impress the coach with his skill and instead plays for the team, he will be dynamite off the bench.

They’ll be cellar dwellers because…
…they can’t play out of the back. Yet. We can talk all day about the supposed tactical revolution in the A-League but it doesn’t mean the players skill levels have dramatically increased also. If the friendly against Newcastle Jets at Leichhardt was anything to go by, the Sky Blues defensive line should stick to letting Necevski boot the ball up the park from the goalkick. In saying that, a full strength defense of Fabio, Griffiths, Bosschaart and Ryall (or Emerton) could surprise us by finding Antonis or Del Piero, and from there they’d be sweet as. 

Talk around the watercooler… Look smart in front of your colleagues with this valuable piece of information.
Coach Ian Crook actually played with and coached defender Adam Griffiths up at Northern Spirit in the old NSL.

The offseason brought…
…Webjet and Destination NSW. It’s the end of the fashionable sponsor-free Sydney FC jerseys. Sponsorship of the club is increasing significantly and the catalyst for which is club CEO Tony Pignata. We won’t yet know if they’re headed down the same path as Melbourne Heart and are on track to break even this season, but financial stability is certainly one step closer.

Key player…
Paul Reid. Ok, he’s not. But he was chosen over the slowly-regaining-fitness Jason Culina who would have been a like for like replacement for Nick Carle. At best Reid is injury cover and/or the first name on the bench whereas Culina would easily push for a starting berth when even 90%. So it’s the safe option by Crook, which as former coach Vitezslav Lavicka found out the last two seasons is not always best. Simply, dramatically, its key for Reid to perform or else Crook has failed as a coach and as a person and at life.

One to watch…
Fabio Alves. The Melbourne Victory transfer has been stellar during preseason and has a point to prove in Sydney. To the fans, to himself, to the coach, Fabio needs to keep the fiery form he has shown to date in Sky Blue colours.

Full squad list…
Ivan NECEVSKI, Vedran JANJETOVIC, Adam GRIFFITHS, Nathan SHERLOCK, Trent MCCLENEHAN, Daniel PETKOVSKI, Sebastian RYALL, Pascal BOSSCHAART, Fabio ALVES, Paul REID, Ali ABBAS, Terry ANTONIS, Hagi GLIGOR, Terry MCFLYNN, Brett EMERTON, Ryan GRANT. Joel CHIANESE, Dimitri PETRATOS, Blake POWELL, Mitch MALLIA, Alessandro DEL PIERO, Kruno LOVREK, Yairo YAU

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Matt Greenlaw
Editor of The Football Sack for three years, Matthew now spends his time sipping merlot whilst watching the reruns of Thursday FC.

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