Central Coast Mariners – Match Report vs. Sydney FC (31/07/2022)

Sydney .C defeated Central Coast Mariners on penalty kicks in the Australia Cup. The Mariners started a very young squad, including 5 teenagers, and they seemed a bit overmatched. Despite this, Sydney managed to blow what looked like a very comfortable 3-1 lead. The Mariners played a 4-4-2. They mostly looked to hit on the counter, especially in the first half. Sydney FC played in a 4-3-3 that controlled possession a lot more. 

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Garang Kuol 

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Australian/South Sudanese
  • Age: 17
  • Date of Birth: 15/09/2004
  • Current Club: Central Coast Mariners 
  • Career: Goulburn Valley Suns, Central Coast Mariners U21
  • Position: Winger
  • Preferred foot: Right

Garang Kuol was part of a fluid Mariners front three. Though there were occasional flashes, it was a bit of a quiet evening for the wonderkid. Kuol’s game had some similarities to pre-breakout Alphonso Davies. There were lots of menacing-looking runs but no actual shots of clear-cut chances created. Kuol is very quick and he did look dangerous when attacking space. He did a lot of ball carrying, relative to how much possession his team had, in both central and wide areas. However, he had trouble once he got to the edge of the penalty area. He had at least three occasions where he just put too much weight on his passes and the chance fizzled out. 

Kuol showed some good dribbling skills, though that skill was applied a bit inconsistently. In space, he had enough guile to beat players 1v1. This, combined with his pace, means that if he was isolated against a defender in space then he was basically guaranteed to get past him. But in tighter spaces, he was less reliable. He sometimes seemed to be a little bit too direct, just pushing the ball past players and trying to bully his way forwards in a straight line. This is not to say that he only knocked the ball into space, he did show the occasional ability to dribble out of trouble, but I think the fact he’s so much faster than everybody can lead to him over-relying on his pace to get through situations. The ball also seemed to get stuck in his feet sometimes when he was under pressure. 

Rating – A2

The mechanics of a great player were all there but the timing and the decision-making of a great player were not. At 17, time is very much on Kuol’s side and he has already shown he can score goals at the A-League level. But this performance showed that there are things to be worked on if he is to be more than a good A-League player. 

Michael Ruhs

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Australian
  • Age: 19
  • Date of Birth: 27/08/2002
  • Current Club: Central Coast Mariners 
  • Career: Sydney United, Macarthur F.C
  • Position: Striker
  • Secondary Position: Winger
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Michael Ruhs played as both a striker and a winger in this match. He was a bit anonymous in the first half but in the second half, he scored a goal and demonstrated some valuable skills. I don’t know exactly how big Ruhs is, the A-League is terrible at providing information like that, but I can confidently say that he is an absolute tank, especially for a 19-year-old. Ruhs used his size and speed to his advantage on several occasions. He was very good in the air and was able to win headers off several long-range aerial passes. He was also very good at shielding the ball from opponents and keeping hold of the ball as he turned. He dropped into deeper areas to link up with teammates quite frequently. He showed some decent passing, picking out a couple of good through balls, though he’s not quite at Harry Kane level. 

Ruhs had a decent amount of success around the box. He scored a goal by being in the right place at the right time and had a couple of other chances cutting inside from the left flank. In addition to being big, Ruhs is also quite fast relative to his size, which made him hard to stop when he got a head of steam going with the ball at his feet. He also used this speed to test the Sydney backline a couple of times. He was not able to get on the end of any through balls but he kept the backline honest. 

Ruhs also did a lot of defensive running. He was not at all afraid to get stuck into a tackle, in fact, he had several perfectly executed slide tackles while pressing the Sydney F.C defence.

His biggest weakness was probably his touch. It was ok, but a bit inconsistent. There were a couple of times he lost the chance to create a good chance. 

Rating – A2

I had not heard of Ruhs before watching this match but I liked what I saw a lot. His great physicals are complemented by some good technical skills. If he can develop that package of gifts then he could go far. 

Nectarios Triantis

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Australian 
  • Age: 19
  • Date of Birth: 11/05/2003
  • Current Club: Central Coast Mariners
  • Career: Western Sydney U21, Western Sydney Wanderers 
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Nectarios Triantis played as a centre-back in this match. He was put in an extremely difficult situation. Not only was he part of a very young squad, but the more experienced players next to him were not doing him any favors. Thomas Aquilina, at right back, was constantly getting beat and leaving Triantis exposed. Triantis’ more experienced centre-back partner, Dan Hall, managed to give away a penalty and get sent off. So, in light of this, I think Triantis had a very impressive performance. He played with a cool head on his shoulders, dealing well with being isolated against attackers and looking calm with the ball at his feet. 

Triantis was very good at shepherding opposing players away from the goal. He had a lot of situations where he had to keep his body between the ball and the goal without giving away a penalty and he handled those situations very well. He mostly played deeper and mopped up loose balls but on the occasions, he did step forward to make defensive plays he did quite well. The one thing that could perhaps be improved was his positioning looked a little bit off. He would be sucked in very narrowly, which would allow space for Sydney to make runs to the near post. But the rest of the back line was a bit all over the place so this may have been a knock-on effect of that. 

Triantis looked very comfortable with the ball. Aside from one hilariously misplaced sideways pass he did a great job of breaking the first line of Sydney’s press. He also carried the ball out of defence quite well, even when he was under pressure. 

Rating – A2

It’s still very early in Triantis’ career and he still has some things to polish up. But I think this was a very impressive performance in a very difficult situation. I’m interested to see how he develops. 

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