Heading into the Easter Break, the Reds from Edensor Park sat in equal first-spot ? second to Sutherland Sharks on goal difference ? in what has certainly exceeded the expectations of supporters and neutral followers of the game.
Sydney United?s first four matches have produced victories against Blacktown City Demons, Marconi Stallions and West Sydney Berries, with a draw away against Bankstown City.
Although the Reds have yet to face Sutherland ? the two teams meet on Saturday evening in Round 5 at Seymour Shaw ? Sydney United has already dealt with challenges from three of the bigger clubs of the season.
And with a relatively new set-up ? whereby coach Ivan Petkovic and his staff are still perfecting the team?s play and organisation ? it does look bright for a Reds success this season.
?We have started well and I am happy with my players performances in this first part of the season,? commented Sydney United boss Ivan Petkovic.
?I think that it takes a little bit of time for the players to adapt to new style of play and I am happy with the results that we have managed to achieve up to this point.?
Sydney United finished fourth in the pre-season Johnny Warren Cup, a result that did not bother Petkovic at all leading into the regular season ? his objective was to look at performances and not results at that stage.
?I was happy with the pre-season because I got some good responses from the players. That was important because the Premier League season is the real objective.
?I think that the players have slowly improved, and we are becoming more confident when we play.?
Despite the gradual improvement each week, Petkovic and Sydney United supporters could not have expected the torrid workout they were to endure in Round 4 against West Sydney Berries.
The Reds were outplayed for large spells in the match ? despite playing at home and against ten-men for 50? minutes of the encounter.
?It was our worst match, though we won.
?We were completely outplayed and we were very lucky to get three-points from the match.
?Our play was very poor, our passes were not accurate and we did not pressure the Berries defence at all. I was extremely disappointed with a lot of what I saw in that match,? Petkovic added.
?I believe that our players may have been a little bit surprised with how strong West Sydney was ? they played excellent football.?
One positive to come from the match was the ability of the defence not to concede a goal.
?Joe Vrkic led very well in the back, and I am happy that we managed not to concede any goals.?
Sydney United face Sutherland Sharks in the top-of-the-table clash at Seymour Shaw on Saturday evening in the Round 5 TeleChoice Premier League match of the round ? a testing match for the Reds against the in-form Sharks.
?I saw Sutherland play against Sydney Olympic and they are a great side. They play very well, so it will be a very difficult test for us against them.
?We will need to lift our performance to compete against the Sharks, though I am confident that after the Easter week off ? where we have managed to train hard ? that we can return to play some consistent football again.?
Sutherland Sharks host Sydney United at Seymour Shaw Park on Saturday 29th of March at 7:30 pm.
– Joe Carlucci