Brillante convinced Sydney will be back among the goals

The goals are coming back to Sydney FC. The Sky Blues believe it and if you watched their FFA Cup quarter-final win over Blacktown City and you don't share that opinion, then you don't believe your own eyes.

Josh Brillante

Josh Brillante in action for Sydney FC Source: Getty Images

Sure, it was NSW NPL opposition as opposed to another A-League team, but it is the way the Sky Blues are going about their business in the pre-season games and how much more threatening they have become with each cup tie.

It is also the fact Alex Brosque is still only coming off the bench at this stage and Bernie Ibini is yet to make his return from a broken leg.

When everyone is fit and well, Sydney coach Graham Arnold will have Brazilian marquee striker Bobo, David Carney, Filip Holosko, Milos Ninkovic, Brosque, Ibini, Matt Simon and George Blackwood to pick from for four positions in the front third.

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Simon came off the bench against Blacktown and Blackwood was unavailable because he is away on Young Socceroos duty.

Bobo had a terrific game against the NSW NPL champions Blacktown at Sydney United Sports Centre on Wednesday night, registering assists for the first two goals and scoring the third.



He will obviously face much tighter defences once the A-League kicks off in a fortnight, but the 31-year-old clearly has the ability to excel in that competition and the bonus is that as well as being a goal-poacher he can also be a creator of scoring opportunities.

Sydney finished second on the competition table and ranked as the second-highest goal-scoring team in the 2014-2015 A-League, when they scored 52 goals in 27 games during the regular season at an average of 1.92 goals per game. They went on to lose the grand final to Melbourne Victory, 3-0.

Sky Blues striker Marc Janko was the competition's leading scorer that year, with 16. Another Sydney player, Shane Smeltz was equal-eighth, with eight goals.

Last season, Sydney dropped alarmingly to seventh place on the table, missing the finals in the 10-team competition, and scored just 36 goals at an average of 1.33 per game. They ranked seventh for scoring.

Holosko was their leading scorer, coming in at equal-sixth in the competition with eight goals. He was their team's only player in the top 10 scorers.



It all starts out in the holding midfield area for the Sky Blues, where Arnold favours a duo. Brandon O'Neill and off-season signing Josh Brillante are fast developing a great understanding there.

Asked on Thursday if there was plenty of potential for goals from Sydney this season, Brillante replied: "Yeah, the style of nice, attacking play that we do, we worked hard on that in training and I think against Blacktown we started to show how far it has come and how well we've been doing.

"We put together some nice strings of passing and obviously some nice attacking football which resulted in some nice goals.

"In midfield it helps when you've got the quality in front with the likes of Bobo, 'Brosquey', Filip, Ninkovic and those sort of guys. They're all great players, so for us midfielders it makes it easier.

"We're very happy with the result. Through to the semi-finals of the cup, it's a great start, but there is still a lot more work to do at training in preparation for the games coming up."



Sydney players have not been afraid to come out and say the Sky Blues are capable of scooping the pool when it comes to titles this season and Brillante was similarly bullish.

"I think we can go all the way with the team we have and the quality of players," he said. "I think we can bring home some silverware.

"The first game is only a couple of weeks away, so we're all prepping for that game and we'll all be ready to go."

Sydney's first-round game is the derby against Western Sydney Wanderers at ANZ Stadium on October 8.

Wanderers had a setback to their preparation when they were beaten 4-1 by Melbourne City in a cup quarter-final at AAMI Park on Wednesday night. Captain and central defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley was sent off and will miss the derby because of suspension.


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4 min read
Published 22 September 2016 at 2:24pm
By Greg Prichard