Breanna Holden's Elimination Finals preview: MCY v PER

by Breanna Holden on Apr 17, 2016

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Elimination Final 2
Melbourne City v Perth Glory
Sunday 17, AAMI Park

The only two remaining teams in the finals yet to pick up A-League silverware, Melbourne City and Perth Glory, go toe-to-toe on Sunday as they look to bounce back from a poor final round and get one step closer to the Championship.

Melbourne City have been underwhelming and uninspiring the past fortnight. Going from front-runners for the Premiership to fourth placed finishers thanks to two terrible loses to Perth and Adelaide. Key to those performances is the lackluster form from Aaron Mooy (following his national team call up). With the team built around his slick passing, keen foresight, and ability to seamlessly aid transition from defence to attack Mooy’s slow starts and inability to influence games has impacted the team drastically. With that in mind City will need their talisman to step up, particularly given the suspension of Harry Novillo, or face yet another disappointing season under the City Group. While going forward Mooy will be crucial, facing the likes of Diego Kastro, Andy Keogh and Chris Harold City’s defence will need to be at it’s best, shielding Thomas Sorensen, and putting in a performance that mirrored that of their impressive win over Adelaide just a few weeks ago. Should both of these area’s fail to step up, City could be in trouble against a Perth side who’ve proven the team to beat in recent weeks.

As Castro and Harold have played such a pivotal role in the Glory’s incredible turn around this season, their potential absence from the team sheet this Sunday will be the biggest talking point for the visitors. While Keogh himself has proven before he’s a prolific goal scorer, their performance last week showed a clear lack of anything inspiring or unpredictable in the final third, or on the counter. If neither take to the field Perth will have a tough time getting a hold on the game and troubling City’s veteran keeper, but should they take to the field they could decide the result. Another significant factor in the West Australian side’s performance at AAMI Park will travel. Although they’ve turned their biggest disadvantage into an asses this season (travel), the side returned home from Sydney on Monday forcing them to recover mentally and physically before returning to the east coast ahead of their final. Given time-difference and the draining nature of long flights Lowe will be hoping his team can maintain their impressive turn arounds; otherwise the distance the team have to cover each round could once again be their undoing.

My Tip: Melbourne City
The role of Mooy, Castro, Harold and Novillo in this encounter simply cannot be understated. Although both teams amount to much more than a pair of players, all four have been crucial in providing their teams with match wining sparks. With that in mind, Bruno Fornaroli is a more comprehensive striker than Keogh this campaign and with the backing of the home crowd will likely prove the match winner – particularly if Harold and Castro are ruled unfit.