Tomi Juric did it again, this time against his former team, scoring a late goal to give Western Sydney Wanderers a 2-1 victory over Adelaide United at Pirtek Stadium on Friday night. In fact, the goal was Juric's second of the game, and second of the half, as the Wanderers came from behind to take all three points from the Reds. Marcelo Carrusca, back from injury, scored the opener in the 54th minute for visiting Adelaide, but once again, holding most of possession did not yield a victory.
Last week, Adelaide were undone by a second minute goal, which rendered their possession game toothless. Against Western Sydney, however, it was the Reds who opened scoring. And yet, the same issues that plagued Josep Gombau's team at Central Coast were present in the Sydney suburbs. Nearly 500 completed passes at an 87% rate, a full 66% of the game's possession in which they only trailed for ten minutes, but just three shots on target, including Carrusca's goal.
While the return of Jeronimo, and of course Carrusca, made the Reds a more complete side, the problems are clear to see. The overwhelming majority of passes are played between defenders and behind the midfield circle. One look at FourFourTwo StatsZone's player influence view shows just how clustered Adelaide are offensively. To be clear, had the Reds held on for a draw or somehow escaped with a win, the discussion would be very different. But loads of possession, seemingly for the sake of it, is doing as much to hold Adelaide back right now as lead them forward.
Juric, who played seven games with Adelaide last season, is off to a fine start at Western Sydney. His 87th minute goal earned the Wanderers a draw in Round 1 against the Mariners and his double at home against Adelaide keeps Western Sydney unbeaten and for now on top of the ladder. After only a month, the 22-year-old looks like a good shout for the best young signing in the A-League. With each passing week, the Wanderers reconfirm their success from a year ago and should frighten the other clubs vying for a top spot.
Next up for the suddenly streaking Wanderers is Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park on Friday November 8. Adelaide return home next week and host the currently scoreless Newcastle Jets at the Coopers Stadium on Saturday November 9.
ADL Carrusca (Jeronimo) 54'
WSW Juric 60'
WSW Juric (Polenz) 80'
Western Sydney Wanderers: Covic; D'Apuzzo, Topor-Stanley, Beauchamp, Polenz (Haliti 82'); Santalab, Mooy, La Rocca; Bridge (Minniecon 60'), Ono; Juric
Unused subs: Tyson, Cole, Trifiro
Adelaide United: Galekovic; Zullo, McKain, Boogaard, Elrich; Isaias, Malik, Carrusca (Lustica 81'); Cirio, Jeronimo (Mabil 73'), Ferreira
Unused subs: Izzo, Watson, Elsey