Tonight in the FFA Cup, Western Sydney Wanderers face Northern NSW outfit Edgeworth FC. Wanderers were forced to fight back from 2-nil down against Wellington in the Round of 32 while opponents Edgeworth were convincing 3-nil winners against FNQ Heat.
Despite the unconvincing manner in which WSW won, they’ll go into tonight’s match as short priced favourites ($1.16). Wanderers escaped an early FFA Cup exit courtesy of a brace from rookie Lachlan Scott, and a long range blast from Mitch Nichols in the 70th minute.
In Edgeworth’s favour is the fact Wanderers are still very much out of match practise and the new players will still be working on combinations. Amongst the new faces are Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Steve Lustica, Lachlan Scott and Jumpei Kusukami. Obviously Lachlan Scott’s double against Wellington contradicts the concept that combinations still need work, however, Scott plays at the front of the formation and the goals were tap-ins that a park footballer would have been embarrassed to have missed. Aspropotamitis is not a new face but over two seasons he’s had just 13 appearances. If he starts he’ll play in the back four, though former Socceroo Robbie Cornthwaite may make his Wanderers debut there instead. Steve Lustica made his Wanderers debut in midfield against Wellington and Japanese import Jumpei Kusukami sat on the bench for the entire match.
Wanderers manager Tony Popovic added former cult hero Kerem Bulut to the roster just day ago but he’s not in the FFA Cup squad so won’t get a shot at Edgeworth. It’s a long season ahead for Western Sydney including ACL commitments and so far it seems the manager is giving some of the Wanderers youth players a chance to prove themselves.
Meanwhile, Edgeworth Eagles have been busy taking all before them in the PS4 NPLNNSW. Recently they won the NNSW Premiership, giving them a place in the Australian National Premier League Knockout (September). Over the weekend they advanced to the Grand Final of the NNSW competition via a two legged win over Maitland Magpies. The Magpies were stacked with the A-League experience of Dean Heffernan and Matt Thompson, along with some handy youngsters. Edgeworth’s own Japanese import Keigo Moriyasu grabbed the winner in injury time as Maitland pressed forward. The winger received the ball in open space on the left and converted one on one to make it 18 goals for the season.
Edgeworth have made no secret of their FFA Cup ambitions this year. Manager Damian Zane called it his “. . . number one goal,” meanwhile star signing Daniel McBreen and Keigo Moriyasu have both committed for 2017. Of course there is much more to Edgeworth then those two. Look out for young Aden Gardner in midfield and the tireless Bren Hammel at the front end. Fans may also catch Edgy the Eagle – the team mascot – who tore up and down the sidelines last year when Edgeworth were narrowly defeated by Melbourne City last year.
A lot has been said about Australian soccer’s 2nd Tier and how good or bad it is. The FFA Cup has helped to thrust the A-League promotion/relegation argument into the limelight, and seeing betting agencies quote Edgeworth at $13 outsiders for tonight’s match is an indicator that some still believe NPL clubs are a long way from A-League level. Tonight will go some way toward proving that argument correct or incorrect.