Our final season review is here with the analysis of 2009/10 champions Sydney FC. The Sky Blues took all before them to overcome rivals the Melbourne Victory in both the race for the Premiers' Plate and the Championship in what was a highly successful season for the inaugural A-League winners.
Finished:Record: Wins - 15; Draws - 3; Losses - 9; Points - 48 Goals 35 Against: 23 Top goalscorer: John Aloisi (10)
What went wrong? Not much at all. Season 2009/10 was a major success for the Sky Blues as they captured both the Premiers' Plate and Championship. They had the best defence in the competition, one of the most potent attacks when all players were fit and a steely resolve under new coach Vitezslav Lavicka. It was a much different Sydney FC than what we had seen in the past and it obviously worked as they took all before them.
What went right? Almost everything. The signings of Stephan Keller, Karol Kisel and Sebastian Ryall were astute whilst the form of players such as retired veteran Steve Corica, strikers John Aloisi, Alex Brosque and Mark Bridge and goalkeeper Clint Bolton were major factors in the title triumph. Bringing in a European coach was also good business and you can safely class 2009/10 as a complete success for the club.
tribalfootball.com's Player of the Year:Alex Brosque and Clint Bolton. Hard to separate the two with Brosque being a creative genius up forward and Bolton doing all the dirty work with the gloves. Brosque won the accolades from the club but it was Bolton's performances when the team needed him that were paramount in the championship win. His match in the Grand Final was superb and his experience in the penalty shoot-out was vital.
Crowds: Home average - 13,676. Biggest - 25,407 (Rd 27 v MV) Lowest - 8359 (Rd 26 vs. PG*Parramatta Stadium) Sydney enjoyed solid crowds again this season, easily having the second best home average behind the Melbourne Victory. Plenty turned out to see the bigger matches of the season which included the final round of the regular matches when they clinched the minor premiership from Melbourne and the semi-final second leg. Expect crowds to remain at this good level or even increase next term after their success.
The coach: Vitezslav Lavicka. Many media outlets voted him as the Coach of the Year and it wasn't hard to see why. He instilled a toughness in his players that hadn't been seen before at the Sydney Football Stadium and played a brand of football that was tough to break down. Often they won matches with a 1-0 scoreline but it wasn't at all boring football with plenty of chances being created by the likes of Brosque, Kisel and Corica. Clearly results speak for themselves and Lavicka ticked all the boxes in that regard.
Surprises: The turnaround from being the glamour club to a hard working unit that conquered everyone. In regards to performances by individual players, there were not very many surprises as the level of output provided by their big names was expected. Perhaps letting Slovakian midfielder Karol Kisel leave at the same time as Steve Corica retired was a bit of an eyebrow raiser and then allowing Clint Bolton and John Aloisi to leave for the Melbourne Heart will be queried during next season.
Disappointments: Not many disappointing things happened to the club this season. Corica missing the finals series and Aloisi the Grand Final was probably upsetting for some fans but overall you couldn't be disappointed if you are a Sky Blues supporter.
Where to from here? The club will need to bring in some key personnel in the off-season to cover the loss of some vital members of the squad. They have already replaced Bolton by signing Liam Reddy from the Wellington Phoenix and re-signing Keller, Stuart Musialik and skipper Terry McFlynn is a great sign. But a finisher to replace Aloisi would be nice, a centre-half in the mould of Simon Colosimo and extra cover in midfield to allay the departures of Corica and Kisel would hold the club in good stead.