A fierce strike from Brendon Santalab had given the Western Sydney Wanderers a 1-0 win over Macarthur Rams.
The Wanderers opening match of Season 2014/15 was held in freezing conditions in Campbelltown, and the Red & Black shook off any post-season frost with a high intensity pressing game that kept the Rams on the back hoof for almost the entirety of the game.
The key moment came midway through the second half when Santalab blasted a rocket from outside the area that beat the Rams keeper all ends up to open the scoring.
Tony Popovic sent out his charges in the typical 4-2-3-1 formation, and typically of pre-season games, he experiment with his lineup which included several trialists.
In the first half, new goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis took up position between the sticks, with Mark Bridge playing in the attacking midfield role, while trialist Steve Kuzmanovski tore up the right flank, taking advantage of the Macarthur left fullback's woeful positioning to get behind the Rams defence on numerous occasions. The other major point of note was Sandro Pasalic, a 19 year old German national who appears to be a left winger by trade, took up position at left fullback for the Wanderers. Pasalic was most recently part of the junior squad of SV Wacker Burghausen, a club who were last season relegated into the fourth tier of German football.
The second half saw wholesale changes, with Ante Covic in goal, young gun Marty Lo deployed as a deep holding midfielder, and on 67 minutes, the first look at Brazilian attacking midfielder Vitor Saba. Unlike his scruffy beard, his play on the pitch was silky smooth, and Saba lit up Campbelltown Stadium, gliding through numerous challenges and looking to link up with his team-mates. After the match he came over to the far side of the ground where the RBB were situated and spent some time taking photographs and autographs with his new supporters.
All in all, it was a good hitout, and one that stands the Wanderers in good stead for their trial next week in Canberra, Apia Leichardt on the 5th of August, before their first competitive match of the season against Adelaide City on the 12th.
Two other pieces of news hit the twitterverse this evening, one good, and one bad. The bad was that Australian National team defender & Wanderers Australian Marquee player Matthew Spiranovic had been carrying an ankle injury through the World Cup, and now requires surgery that will leave him out for 3 months.
The good is that ex-Victory player, attacking winger James Troisi is set to sign for the Wanderers and it could be completed as early as next week.
The Wanderers next match is against Canberra FC, at Deakin Stadium, Canberra, on Wednesday the 30th of July.
The Western Sydney Wanderers have completed the signing of 31 year old winger Romeo Castelen.
Former RKC Waalwijk player Castelen has been signed to the Western Sydney Wanderers on a two year contract. Castelen is a former Dutch national team player, he made his debut in his early 20's against Sweden, amassing 10 caps for the Oranje from 2004 to 2007, scoring his only goal for his nation in 2005 by poking home a scramble from a corner against Armenia in a victorious World Cup Qualification match.
His career began at ADO Den Haag, scoring 20 goals from 83 league matches. This earned him a move to Dutch giants Feyenoord and set the stage for national team duty. Impressing with 20 goals from only 65 matches, it appeared he had a bright future at the highest level until he was cut down with numerous injuries. His move to Hamburger in Germany was disastrous, spending the majority of 2007 to 2012 under injury clouds, making just 22 appearances.
After a move to Russia failed to reignite his career, he then made a return to Holland for RKC Waalwijk, scoring 6 goals in 29 matches, but ultimately failing to save his side from relegation from the Dutch top flight.
Castelen will look to plug the gap on the right wing that was created when Youssouf Hersi joined Perth Glory. The signing marks another in a line of talented but injury hit foreigners to join the Wanderers. The tactic helped deliver the Premiership to the Wanderers in their first season, and if Castelen can keep fit his pedigree suggests performances to match or even better Hersi.
The Wanderers squad now numbers 20 out of 23 first team players, 2 out of 3 under 21 full time contracted players, and 4 out of 5 foreign players.
Follow the @WestSydney twitter page and our Facebook Page for A-League news & discussion.
Macarthur Rams vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Date and Local Kick-Off Time at Stadium: Wednesday 23 July 2014 - 7:30PM
Sydney Kick-Off Time: 7:30PM EST
Competition: Pre-Season Friendly
Location: Leumeah, New South Wales
Stadium: Campbelltown Stadium
Click here to view the record
The Western Sydney Wanderers will launch the 2014/15 Membership campaign on Friday the 18th of July.
Update: Membership Portal has launched via wanderland.com.au
The club announced the launch on Friday the 11th, including numerous changes and upgrades from last season. A link to the Wanderers news page is here. The new changes and upgrades include:
- A loyalty initiative for renewing members that includes reduced membership costs as well as memorabilia for foundation members.
- The introduction of a new payment option, where in addition to typical upfront payment, the new option for payment in monthly instalments over 10 months.
- The introduction of a seat resale program to enable members who cannot attend matches to forgo their access to a match so their ticket can be on-sold, with rewards for those members who give up their seat.
- A new online membership portal that includes the ability to forward a membership to selected people, a membership selector and online interaction with the membership team.
- A new Junior Supporter membership package that includes various pieces of merchandise.
- The final major development is that after a large volume of complaints about members not being able to pick-up their membership packs last season, this season they will be sent through the post.
- Red Memberships increase from $312 to $320 for foundation members and $335 for new members.
- Black Memberships increase from $240 to $250 for foundation members and $285 for new members.
- The White as well as the White & Black memberships increase from $195 to $200 for foundation members and $215 for new members.
- Red & Black Memberships increase from $195 to $220 for foundation members and $235 for new members.
- Supporter & Out of Towner memberships are unchanged.
Renewal will be open for 1 month from Friday the 18th of July through to the membership renewal deadline on Sunday the 17th of August. Supporter memberships will also be on sale from Friday and supporter members will be placed onto the ticketed membership waiting list while also getting access to the usual Football Family benefits.
Despite this forum being a welcome place to discuss memberships in 2014/15, specific enquiries should be directed to the club membership team through the club membership email address which is:
OPINION: The Western Sydney Wanderers should withdraw any players selected for the novelty A-League All Stars match.
Earlier today the first 6 players were announced for the FFA's money spinning novelty concept the A-League All Stars. The Western Sydney Wanderers were represented by striker Tomi Juric, who won the club golden boot after scoring 9 goals from 25 appearances in his first season at the club, and Australian national team defender Matthew Spiranovic, who guided the club to the Grand Final and ACL Qualification as well as playing all 3 matches for Australia at the World Cup.
The All Stars match this season takes place on Sunday the 10th of August. The Western Sydney Wanderers start their Football Federation Cup campaign only 2 days later, in Adelaide, on the 12th. The All Stars novelty is just that. A novelty. It is a concept designed to do nothing more than fill the coffers of the FFA. It cannot grow A-League clubs, because no A-League club is playing.
The FFA feel that the A-League clubs are a threat to this circus show, and as such have introduced a "fee" to be paid to the FFA in the amount of a quarter of a million dollars in the event one of the A-League clubs can bring a big European team to Australia on tour, such as the extremely successful match between Melbourne Victory & Liverpool FC of England. This is a pathetic attempt to crowd out A-League clubs from carving their own place in the sporting marketplace.
Instead of the Red Devils vs the Blue Randoms last season, I'd have much preferred to be chanting in the RBB for the Wanderers vs Manchester United, instead of sitting 5 rows from the top of ANZ stadium surrounded by people who wanted to know when Ronaldo was coming on.
The idea that the Wanderers could lose their top scorer and a current Australian international player for a real, competitive fixture so that they can play in what is effectively a testimonial match for a marquee player from our city rivals Sydney FC, is a disgrace.
The point of the FFA Cup, at least according to the FFA, is to 'reconnect the grassroots'. Will Adelaide City feel 'reconnected' or respected when the Wanderers show up without key players because they played in a match that means nothing, for a team that isn't the one they face on the 12th of August?
I call upon the Western Sydney Wanderers to immediately withdraw any selected player from the All Stars squad to completely avoid any chance of injury during the Del Piero Tribute match.
I have contacted the club and asked if the Wanderers are considering withdrawing players, and I hope they are.
Update: The Western Sydney Wanderers have responded to my enquiry. Their official statement follows:
The Club won't be making any statements on player withdrawals at this stage.