The A-League draw was released today with Western Sydney hosting the opening fixture on Thursday October 8th against Brisbane Roar.
Football Federation Australia released their A-League draw earlier this morning and it contained a number of surprise and experimental fixtures. Round 1 begins with the Wanderers against Brisbane, continues with Adelaide vs Melbourne Victory on Friday, the Mariners host Perth, SFC play Melbourne City on Saturday, with Wellington rounding out the first weekend hosting Newcastle on Sunday.
The Wanderers will be playing an away Sydney Derby on the 24th of October in Round 3, other notable earlier fixtures including a Newcastle away trip in Round 5 on the 7th of November, a match in Gosford on Sunday the 29th and hosting Melbourne Victory at Parramatta on Saturday the 12th of December.
The Wanderers run to the finals includes match against Adelaide at home, Melbourne away, Mariners at home with Wellington in New Zealand the last match for the regular season.
The final series kicks off on the weekend of the 15th of April, with the Grand Final on Sunday the 1st of May.
The FFA have rolled out the red carpet for Wanderers' rivals Sydney FC, who have been given 8 NSW games in the first 9 to start the campaign, as well as finally accepting that clubs with Asian Champions League commitments need more time between A-League games.
Special event matches have been scheduled for Christmas Eve, the 24th of December where the Wanderers take on Newcastle in Parramatta, as well as New Year's Day the 1st of January 2016 against Adelaide, at Parramatta.
Australian international Scott Jamieson has left the scandal plagued Perth Glory for another team in the West, this time in the West of Sydney.
Scott Jamieson was released from Perth Glory earlier this month, and was quickly snapped up by the club of his hometown the Western Sydney Wanderers. Jamieson is a four time capped Australian international, making his debut in 2009 against Indonesia. An attacking fullback by trade, his signing boosts the Wanderers already solid defensive unit. Jamieson has played over 150 games in total with stints at Perth, Sydney FC & Adelaide United.
The Wanderers defence was also bolstered by the confirmation of a 1 year full time contract being signed by young central defender Jonathan Aspropotamitis.
A near dozen players have been released by the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Iacopo La Rocca, Ante Covic, Jason Trifiro, Tomi Juric, Antony Golec, Nikita Rukavytsya, Kerem Bulut, Nick Ward, Nick Kalmar and Adrian Madaschi have all been released by the Western Sydney Wanderers. Out of the 15 players coming off contract this season, the above 10 players, along with Yianni Perkatis, have been cut from the club that won the Asian Champions League before slumping to a 9th placed finish in this season's A-League Premiership.
The exodus leaves a yawning gap in the Wanderers squad, one which will require an immense recruitment drive to fill. The likes of Tomi Juric, Antony Golec and Iacopo La Rocca will head overseas to continue their careers, while Jason Trifiro & Nick Kalmar will look to another A-League gig.
Coach Tony Popovic recently renewed his contract for another 3 seasons, and will have his work cut out rebuilding the Wanderers in time for their fourth season in the A-League.
Rumours are swirling at likely replacements, with Perth Glory keeper Danny Vukovic looking set to head across the continent to take up the gloves left behind by Covic.
The remaining players left with expiring contracts are Jaushua Sotirio, Marty Lo, Sam Gallaway, Yusuke Tanaka and Yojiro Takahagi. It is unknown at this stage if those players will be staying at the club, their exclusion from these releases indicates they are either in negotiations or have already signed on. Should both Japanese imports stay, the Wanderers will have their international marquee spot open, reportedly with a 'blank cheque' behind it.
Freed of ACL commitments due to their poor performance, and having reportedly fallen out with supporter favourite Bulut, the pressure will be on Popovic to recruit hard and well, and to put the Wanderers back into the top 2 picture from Week 1 of season 2015/16.
The Western Sydney Wanderers are reigning Asian Champions no longer, having been eliminated in the group stage in 3rd place behind FC Seoul.
Despite taking all 3 points against Guangzhou, the Wanderers would rue only picking up a solitary point at home. FC Seoul scored in the 91st minute of their match against Kashima Antlers to see Group H finish Guangzhou 10 points, FC Seoul 9, the Wanderers 8 and last placed Kashima on 6.
The only other Australian team in the competition, the Brisbane Roar, also fell after being comprehensively beaten 2-1 by Urawa Red Diamonds on the Gold Coast to end what little hope they had of progression.
Mark Bridge scored the goal that gave Western Sydney the lifeline. He took full advantage of sloppy defence as a miskick from a Guangzhou defender turned into a sublime through ball for Bridge who cut inside onto his right foot and placed a shot into the bottom corner.
Guangzhou had little in response, with Tomi Juric securing the victory in the 93rd minute only for Seoul to have already scored their eventual winner in the 91st minute of that match.
The failure to progress in the ACL brings to a close a season of two halves, the initial burst of sunlight that was the triumphant Asian Champions League campaign as the A-League kicked off, only to be followed by defeat at the Club World Cup, internal bickering and strife over the pay for that competition, finished with an abject performance in the A-League that saw the Wanderers scrap into 9th place to avoid the wooden spoon.
Western Sydney will now rebuild for their fourth season, with no continental commitments and a full pre-season to come, Tony Popovic will be under pressure to get his recruitment right this time around, and to get his side into top 2 contention for Season 2015/16 of the A-League.
Guangzhou Evergrande vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Date and Local Kick-Off Time at Stadium: Tuesday 5 May 2015 - 7:00PM
Sydney Kick-Off Time: 9:00PM EST
Round: Group Stage
Competition: Asian Champions League
Location: Guangzhou, China
Stadium: Guangzhou Tianhe Stadium
Click here to view the record