122 days after Melbourne Heart played its last ever game, the club begins what will hopefully be a long and prosperous era as Melbourne City with its opening FFA Cup game against Sydney FC.
But despite the riches and benefits brought on by the club’s new owners, the team will kick off its inaugural FFA Cup campaign completely off-Broadway with a game in Ballarat. Like other Melbourne City writers, I’m on record as being an opponent of the scheduling – a midweek fixture in regional Victoria will make it difficult, if not impossible, for many supporters to attend. And ultimately, Melbourne City really should be playing its opening game at the friendly and convenient confines of AAMI Park. You know, in MELBOURNE. Alas, the fixturing gods weren’t that kind, and John van ‘t Schip’s side will make the trip north together with only the hardiest of fans.
What you’ll see
The game! That’s right, in an Australian football first, the game is being streamed live on the club websites of Melbourne City and Sydney FC.
Star striker David Williams, who could feature just 48 hours after appearing as a substitute in the A-League All Stars’ loss to Juventus.
New recruits headlined by former English Premier League star Damien Duff. Other new faces likely to feature include Aaron Mooy, James Brown and Jacob Melling.
What you won’t see
Melbourne City’s new international marquee Robert Koren, with JvS indicating that he is not ready to play despite being “very close”.
City in sky blue, after Sydney FC threw a tantrum and essentially implied that it should monopolise the colour in the A-League in perpetuity. As the home side, Melbourne is likely to wear its new white home strip, meaning Sydney could be forced to wear its away colours. Serves ‘em right.
Several of Sydney FC’s stars, including new strikers Shane Smeltz, Alex Brosque and international marquee signing Marc Janko.
City looks to be the stronger side on paper and should go into the game as favourite. Both sides will be looking to impress in their first serious fixture of the new season, with younger players in particular set to use the game as a platform to press their claims for a regular place. It will be interesting to see how Aaron Mooy, who was solid in the UK friendlies from all accounts, fits into City’s midfield, while David Williams will again be asked to fire in the goals as the lone striker. Overall, City should have enough quality to commence its FFA Cup campaign with a victory. City 2-1 Sydney FC.
HAVE YOUR SAY: What’s your prediction for the game?
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