Sky's the limit for baby blues...
The Sky Blues NYL side took out the competition in stunning style in early February, three games before the end of the season, after winning 13 of their first 15 games. Sydney FC finished the season with just three losses and two draws from their 18 matches, knocking in 49 goals in the process.
It was impressive turnaround from the junior Sky Blues considering they finished second bottom of the NYL competition in 2012-2013.
Corica said the Premiership was won through hard work and by “installing the right mentality in the players”.
“We also brought in players that complemented the remaining half of the team from the previous year, and having a good pre-season and working on our attacking and defending structures consistently was crucial to our success,” he said.
“We had a great preseason in Vietnam and we had quality players that worked well as a team.”
Coric believes the consistency his squad showed over the campaign was also crucial.
“We had a very good season with a lot of positives and the players responded very well to the way we wanted to play, and the results show for it by winning the championship,” he said.
A number of the NYL team’s members have already made their senior debuts in seasons past, including Mitch Mallia, Aaron Calver, Blake Powell, Daniel Petkovski and Hagi Gligor.
This season Chris Naumoff, Dylan Caton, Alec Urosevski and Themba Muata-Marlow have all graduated to the A-League ranks for Sydney FC - and Corica believes more will follow.
“The whole squad has the potential to play with the first squad, some have already, and some of the younger ones may have a chance in the near future,” he said.
“There were seven or eight players that stood out this year and by standing out most have had chances to play for the first grade. There was no one key individual, part of our foundation at the start of the year was working as a team and not having that individual mentality.”
Sydney FC pulled out some emphatic victories over the course of the NYL season, including a 5-2 defeat over Adelaide and a 9-2 thrashing of Perth. Mitch Mallia top-scored for the club with 13 goals, while Blake Powell and Alec Urosevski both chipped in with seven and Anthony Tomelic scored four. Corey Gameiro, Josh McDonald and Chris Naumoff also chipped in with three goals each.
“Obviously we work a lot on our attacking shape and movement from midfield and midfield rotation, and we had a number of players that could score goals,” Corica said.
“That’s a key to not just have one player scoring, because we had a number of players that could finish chances off, which we did regularly.”
After clinching the title in February, Sydney FC finished the season with losses to Adelaide, Newcastle and a 0-0 draw with the AIS. The Sky Blues were heavily defeated by runners-up the Jets 7-1 in the second last game of the campaign, but Corica put this run of results down to the absence of several players.
“I think we’ve had key players missing who have been away with the first grade, which is a definitely a positive for the club, especially in the defensive area where we haven’t played with a centre back at times due to them being away with the first team so we’ve had to play players in unfamiliar roles,” he said.
“Against Newcastle we had our centre back sent off when we were 1-0 down and Newcastle scored 2 quick goals straight after we had the man sent off. The second half was always going to be difficult with 10 men, we weren’t compact enough and in us chasing a goal we were left exposed at the back and conceded from that.
“What we learnt from this match was to stay more compact in these sorts of situations and defend first and foremost.”