Plenty of lessons were learned from our Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32 clash with Floreat Athena. See our five talking points from the contest.
A heir to the set piece throne
Melbourne City has found its heir to the set piece throne at least as Luke Brattan provided his side with a range of lethal dead ball deliveries last night.
The holding midfielder was on song from the start, causing chaos from a corner in the third minute and setting the tone on free kicks for the rest of the night. Brattan also created a chance in the first half for Osama Malik to spring the keeper into action as well as a ripping free kick that forced the save of the match.
As with his predecessor Aaron Mooy, Brattan wasn’t always on target last night, having to leave a note on the doorstep to the owners of the apartment behind the goals.
The magic comes with warts and all
As we saw last night, the magic of the cup is a special thing that gets fans around the nation excited to see their local teams take on the country’s biggest clubs. With this, teams like City travel to local grounds to be welcomed by a warts and all experience from the souvlaki meat in the air to the Club President setting up the nets.
City were welcomed by tricky conditions at Dorrien Gardens on Tuesday night with the ground in a questionable condition even for NPL level. Torrential rain in Perth over the past three weekends has caused havoc for fixtures in the WA NPL and Dorrien Gardens was another victim of the conditions with an uneven surface.
Although both sides were made to play on the patchy pitch, it did affect City’s potency in the final third, with the bobble clearly affecting combinations between Kamau and Fornaroli in the first half. With progression to the next round, City will have the chance to play a federation side once again in the Round of 16 and must be ready for similar conditions wherever they may play.
The Round of 32 speed bump
The Round of 32 of the Westfield FFA Cup is proving to be a trickly little task for City, registering the same result against a similar team in the past two seasons.
The timing is perfect for teams at local level to try and pinch an unlikely result against professional opposition with the federation teams in the middle of their season while the A-League sides are only just getting started.
Although this should not be an excuse for these sides, it does make the task tricker with not only the ground and fitness playing a part, but the chemistry between new signings on the park also playing an important factor.
As we saw with last year’s tournament, City marched on impressively to the Semi-Final so let’s hope it will be an omen for us to go two steps further this season.
Undoubtedly the highlight of the night for City fans was Anthony Caceres 30-yard stunner that restored our lead in the second half.
As much as the pitch wreaked havoc to our combinations up front, it may have played its role on Caceres’ strike, bobbling up at the right time for the midfielder to pull the trigger to unleash an unstoppable strike towards the top corner.
The importance of the goal was psychologically crucial for City, thwarting the momentum of Floreat with the match looking to become an end to end affair as it headed for the final stages.
Onto the next round!
The win last night ultimately means we’re onto the next round of the FFA Cup! With two A-League sides already eliminated from the contest and at least two more heading out in the A-League v A-League fixtures, the likelihood of City picking up another member federation side is very high.
With lessons learned from this match and our journey last season, progress to the final stages of the competition will be vitally important if we are to be in the running for silverware this season.
The Round of 16 is scheduled to be played between 23-31 August.