Can Sydney FC find a road to redemption?
Frank Farina shot at the A-League with Sydney FC has hit a hurdle (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Three games into the A-League season seems a tad premature to be berating a team, but the bashing Sydney FC have copped since Saturday’s derby defeat has been vicious, albeit for the most part warranted.
Sydney aren’t three games into a troubled trot, they’re three years into it.
Sydney know very well that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But they’ve failed to account for the other variable.
Many things were broken last season and while fans have no choice but to deal with periods of lull, one thing they can’t tolerate is a failure to change things that are proven problems.
In the 2012/13 campaign, the Sky Blues conceded 51 goals – the most of any team in the league, despite only narrowly missing a place in the finals. Over the last three seasons combined, they’ve had the leakiest defence, with 133 goals conceded.
It’s a trend to cause worry.
If this wasn’t evidence enough, the disheartening sense of déjà vu when Shinji Ono scored the Wanderers’ second goal made things a bit clearer.
Seb Ryall and Tiago haplessly looked for the ball like a kid trying to discover where the coin Great Uncle Barry just pulled out from behind their ear had come from. Meanwhile, Ono shimmied through and slid the ball home.
It was a testament to all that has gone wrong in the harbour city. By that point, there was little to cheer about for The Cove – who provided admirable support given the circumstances.
Thankfully there were no jeers as Sydney left the field, but there is definite cause for pessimism in Frank Farina’s setup.
The former Socceroos boss has come under expected pressure over the last fortnight, not for the first time in his career.
Many will argue he has had his fair share of chances and has to go, but other than perhaps including the experienced Matt Thompson in the starting line-up, Farina had limited alternative options at his disposal heading into the Wanderers match.
Ian Crook had a similar displeasure before tendering his resignation last year. The squad problems at Sydney, mainly at the back end, appear to stem beyond Farina.
That word change is one that must find its way through to the Sydney dressing room in the coming weeks. While the back four holds the key to Sydney’s woes, a reinvigoration of the attack is just as crucial.
Without Alessandro Del Piero, creativity in the final third went missing. Nick Carle, who should’ve been an apt replacement, failed to deal with the pressure of the Wanderers’ defence and sent a number of passes wayward.
It’s the subject of many a meme and easy banter for rival fans, but it does seem there is no Plan B without ADP. Even if there is one, it’s not clear and the Sky Blues must prove themselves without their maestro.
On a more positive note for Sydney, there have been unsubstantiated whisper that much-maligned Brisbane Roar striker Besart Berisha could be headed down south.
The Albanian would be a huge loss for the Roar and an incredible addition for Sydney, possibly banging in enough goals to compensate for the amount that will continue to flow in at the other end for the rest of the season. At this stage it’s just a rumour, but it opens up a number of possibilities and questions.
Sydney are currently cruising down the M4 stuck behind an L-plater while their rivals breeze past in the fast lane. It’s time to veer off and find a new direction.
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