Revolving door the real problem for Sky Blues
After wholesale changes to the squad and their second coach of the season, it's no surprise Sydney FC are floundering - but they have the quality to turn their season around.
Eight games into the season isn-t quite time for panic stations. Despite being last on the Hyundai A-League ladder Sydney FC can turn things around.
Forget the perceived defensive deficiencies and the distraction that might just come with playing alongside Alessandro Del Piero, your captain being dropped to the bench or even your coach departing and then getting used to a new football ethos. The real issue is a lack of cohesion and the revolving door to the club.
The 2012/13 season has seen no less than 10 new players sign up at Allianz Stadium; that-s almost an entire first team - then throw in the promotions of Mitch Mallia, Blake Powell, Hagi Gligor and Nathan Sherlock, and it is an entire team.
In any other code that would be called a “rebuilding phase” - but Sydney FC refuse to relinquish their mantle as the big boys of the A-League.
Think about it - Australia-s most successful domestic sporting team recently has been the Geelong Cats, who dominated the AFL throughout the late part of the 2000s, winning three premierships in six years.
Even though the Cats are still currently a top four side, they have admitted to being in a rebuilding phase since the losses of some long-serving players. Cameron Ling, Brad Ottens and Cam Mooney all left, soon to be followed by the likes of Matthew Scarlett.
But as the squad changes, the club admits they don-t expect immediate premierships - and that-s just after a few players going.
Sydney FC has a whole new team. The expectation on them to deliver the goods immediately is not only unrealistic, it is unfair. It-s also in part a possibility that this demand for success, driven by the media and unrealistic expectations of club officials and fans, helped drive Ian Crook out of his job.
As good as Del Piero is - and he has been great - it doesn-t mean his teammates are all going to immediately gel with each other. Combinations take time and it-s clear Sydney are still finding their way with those.
The back four are making mistakes and the midfield aren-t helping through a simple lack of understanding.
To accentuate that point let-s look at what happened a few weeks ago on the Central Coast.
The Mariners fielded a side that had nine starters who had been at the club last year and played regularly together in the first team. Sydney fielded a side that had seven starters who were up from the NYL or new to the club and three of their bench players were in the same predicament.
More recently they have had five “new” players starting against Brisbane and five against Adelaide, although against the Reds it was at least an improved performance.
But there is evidence elsewhere that Sydney will improve, such as back in 2010/11 one of America-s biggest ever sports deals occurred.
The Miami Heat acquired the services of Chris Bosh and LeBron James to complement Dwyane Wade and create what looked like being an unstoppable force in the NBA; they lost their first game of the season to Chicago and would only be 9-8 after 17 games, a record that nearly saw their coach fired.
The problem, the new stars were failing to get their rhythm, timing and cohesion together. Eventually they did, they had a stellar back end of the season and went on to make the NBA Finals before eventually losing to the Dallas Mavericks. The next season they won the whole thing, easily sweeping Oklahoma City in the finals.
The point - combinations in all sports take time to grow, when you gut a roster and change the face of the team, success is very rarely immediate. And right now that is the core problem facing Sydney FC.
Time will heal their presently gaping wounds and they will eventually be a force in the Hyundai A-League again; their talent pool is too deep not to.
The views expressed in this article are purely those of the author and do not reflect those of FFA or the Hyundai A-League.