Sydney FC defeated league leaders Melbourne City 2-1 in A-League action. It was a fairly close match in terms of chances and control of the game but Sydney was just a bit more clinical.
- 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
- Nationality: Australian
- Age: 20
- Date of Birth: 16/09/2002
- Current Club: Sydney FC
- Career: Sydney FC (Y)
- Position: Striker
- Preferred Foot: Right
I was very keen to watch Patrick Wood, who played as a striker in this match. His goal rate in the A-League is outstanding but he has never really been able to nail down a consistent spot in the team (this is the classic A-League prospect experience). This year it looks like that might finally be changing.
In 58 minutes Wood showed some incredible flashes but also left a bit to be desired. Wood is very good at turning defenders that get tight to him. He rattled the post early in the game with a fantastic quick turn and strike. He repeated this skill a couple of times but wasn’t able to generate a shot from it. He didn’t look as comfortable a couple of times when he had to run at players. He’s good at quick, explosive, movements but when he has to make a sequence of moves he doesn’t look as good. Wood did not have a ton of touches in this match. To a certain extent that’s his role. But I think he could be more effective with better run selection. Wood was looking for a player to cut the ball back to him almost every single time. Obviously, this sort of box movement has its place, and Wood did generate a pretty good chance off a cutback, but he missed out on a lot of opportunities by not making more runs to the near post or the centre of the goal. In fact, Sydney’s second goal was the result of one of the midfielders making a run beyond him, while he dropped off looking for a cutback, and receiving a cross in the box.
Wood is 5’10 but not particularly muscular. He did make some efforts to get in behind but I would not say his speed stood out. He almost created some problems for Melbourne through his pressing but other than that one moment I wouldn’t say his defensive efforts stood out (though Sydney was not pressing very high in general).
Wood had very few touches, and showed some obvious weaknesses. But he also turned his limited touches into two great goal-scoring opportunities. In 1200 career A-League minutes he is averaging 0.5 goals and 0.74 xG per 90 so, even though I see some shortcomings, I kind of have to go with an A2. It is a results-based business after all. If Wood can vary his runs up a bit more I think he would be an elite A-League striker and have the ability to go to a Europa League-level club. The big question will be if he gets consistent playing time, as we have seen that even scoring 0.5 goals/90 isn’t necessarily enough to keep him in the lineup. Honestly, if you’re a reasonably sized European club it might be worth snatching him up now while his value is low and sticking him in the reserves where he would play every week. His contract does expire in June 2023 so he’ll be there for the taking.