Frank Farina takes the reins of Sydney FC for the first time. Image courtesy of perthnow.com.au
Frank Farina has been out of the A-League for three seasons, and in the time he has been gone, the landscape has changed markedly. When he left after round 10 of the 2009-10 season, Sydney FC was on top of the table, with Gold Coast United hot on their hammer. Since then the team from the Glitter Strip has folded and the North Queensland Fury are no longer, while this week’s opponent, Melbourne Heart , has come in to the competition. Noticeably, too, Farina’s new team has gone from the penthouse to the cellar, and it will take a massive turnaround in fortunes for the Sky Blues to make the finals from here.
Sydney has won just one of four starts at the Sydney Football Stadium this year. They should have grabbed a point against ladder leader Adelaide United last weekend, but an 88th minute goal to the super-impressive Dario Vidosic proved the difference. A striker himself, Farina will have to work out ways to shore up Sydney’s defence, which has conceded a whopping 22 goals in eight games. With Alessandro Del Piero weaving his magic up front, they haven’t had issues scoring goals, finding the back of the net seven times during the team’s current four-game losing streak.
Heart dominated much of its match against Newcastle last weekend, but surrendered a 2-0 halftime lead as the Jets snatched a draw thanks to a Ryan Griffiths spot kick just minutes from full time. The club’s only win away from home this season came in the Melbourne derby in round 1, but last time Heart travelled to Sydney it was on the right end of a 4-0 scoreline. The teams have drawn three of their past four encounters, though.
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