Changes to the starting line-up for next week’s tough game in Adelaide could be in the offing after a disappointing 2-1 loss to Sydney City at the Westpac Stadium yesterday.
Changes to the starting line-up for next week-s tough game in Adelaide could be in the offing after a disappointing 2-1 loss to Sydney City at the Westpac Stadium yesterday.
Head coach Ricki Herbert hinted at that scenario after throwing substitutes Louis Fenton, Tyler Boyd and Benji Totori into the fray in the closing stages of a lacklustre Phoenix performance.
The combination of pace and commitment that the trio showed impressed an otherwise disappointed Herbert.
“The young boys added something and have thrown themselves into the mix for Adelaide away next week, and Dani Sanchez is now fit again so there is another possibility” Herbert said.
“We-ve been going with a stable selection but these (young) guys are the future of the club.”
Herbert was at a loss when asked if he could pinpoint the reasons for such an untypical Phoenix performance on home turf.
“I really don-t know,” he said. “We were poor right across the board and failed to perform anywhere.
“We didn-t look after the ball. Everyone looked flat; we had no rotation in midfield and ended up going long.
“On the day we just weren-t good enough. I suppose that happens from time to time, but you don-t want it to.”
The Phoenix looked out of sorts from the start and allowed Sydney FC, orchestrated by Jason Culina, to take control.
Just when it looked as if the teams would go in level at halftime poor defending allowed an unmarked Seb Ryall to head a 46th minute goal.
Another surprise was the brittle defending by the home side, which also had Herbert scratching his head.
“We-ve been really strong defensively for the last few weeks but today we didn-t defend from front to back,” he said.
“We didn-t shut it down at the top and didn-t get tight in midfield.”
Those unusual frailties allowed Sydney striker Rhyan Grant a free run on goal in the 69th minute and he easily beat the exposed Mark Paston.
In injury time the Phoenix were awarded a penalty which Jeremy Brockie converted to continue his scoring streak, but the last-gasp flurry by the Phoenix was too little too late.