Asia Conquering Wanderer's Must Now Find Path To A-League Reality

Despite success in Asia, Wanderers need to concentrate on fixtures a little closer to home after a poor start to the A-League campaign

The all-conquering Western Sydney Wanderers harbour dreams of taking on one of football’s Giants. The Asian Champions are just one win away from a match up with Real Madrid at the FIFA World Club Cup. But while a showdown with the games Galaticos in Morocco is on the horizon the Wanderers need to concentrate on fixtures a little closer to home. While they’ve haven’t quite gone from heroes to zeros the Sydney siders are yet to register a point in the A-League this season. And while fans are still celebrating their immaculate achievement abroad, coach Tony Popovic is surely worried about a hangover from their AFC exploits.

Western Sydney’s Shocking Start to the Season

The Wanderers 1-0 loss to Wellington Phoenix on Friday night was their third defeat in three games to begin the 2014-15 A-league season. Alarmingly the club sit second bottom on the table with only the out sorts Brisbane Roar below them on goal difference. The Wanderers had their chance to kick start their season in an even battle across the ditch and perhaps should have scored the game’s opening goal midway through the second half. Matthew Spiranovic was denied at point blank range by Phoenix goalkeeper glen Moss after a goalmouth scramble in the six yard box. It proved one of the key moments in a match which produced minimal standout opportunities; the other was the host’s opener in the 79th minute. Nathan Burns finished a clever cross to score the only goal of the encounter.

Despite the arm wrestle the result could have and perhaps should have been worse for the Wanderers after Wellington were awarded a penalty in the final minutes. Ante Covic continued his sensational form keeping out Michael McGlinchey from 12 yards but Western Sydney couldn’t capitalise on their shot stoppers heroics. Despite a vastly different line up to the one which secured Asian Champions Glory in the second leg of the final, the visitors still appeared to run out of puff in the final quarter of the game. Still the coach refused to blame an arduous travel schedule and emotionally and physically taxing past fortnight.

Troubles at Both Ends of the Pitch

The Wanderers rock solid defence that saw them become Asian Champions has deserted them in the domestic competition. Nathan Burns’ strike in New Zealand was the 8th goal Western Sydney have conceded already this season. The Victory put four past them in the opening round in a totally dominant display in Melbourne, before the Wanderers conceded another 3 goals in the Sydney Derby. The 3-2 loss to arch rivals Sydney FC was a bitter pill to swallow especially after the Sky Blues came from 2 nil down to win.

The Wanderers aren’t exactly firing blanks at the other end of the pitch averaging 1 per game, but when you’ve conceded more in 1 outing then you’ve scored all season…. well the numbers just don’t add up. Boom recruit Nikita Rukavytsya will add fire power to the forward line and despite not netting on his club debut against Wellington, the Asian Cup hopeful will be aiming to seal his spot in the Socceroos squad with a hatful of goals in Australia.

Finally Focusing on the A-League

On December 13 The Wanderers will have another chance to create more history when they take on Cruz Azul FC in the World Club Cup but before their sudden death showdown with the Brazilian club they’ll be solely focused on improving their position in the national league. Western Sydney have a jam packed month where they’ll attempt to fit in 6 A-League fixtures before flying out to Africa. With 2 catch up games in hand and 4 of their next 6 matches at home the Wanderers can make up ground on the rest of competition with a solid run of results.

After claiming unimaginable silverware in just their third year of existence the A-League’s youngest club is aiming to win its first domestic title in 2015. The Wanderers have fallen short at the last hurdle in their only 2 seasons in the competition, going down in successive grand finals. Having taken out Asia’s top prize there’s a burning desire to do the double despite a slow start to their campaign. Having witnessed the Wanderers stun their Asian opponents no Australian Football Club will be writing the Western Sydney club off this early.