On Tuesday night (1st September) in the FFA Cup Rockdale City Suns take on A-League champions Melbourne Victory. The match is set to be a watershed moment for the club, and a number of it’s semi pro players.
While the Suns club is home to a number of men with A-League experience, there are also a host of ambitious young players looking to take the next step in their soccer careers.
Waseda University (Japan) graduate Takuya Murayama is one of those men. The 28 year old has been a regular with the Suns since 2012 and sees Tuesday night’s clash with Melbourne Victory as one of the biggest games of his career.
Murayama said, “We believe we are capable of competing, and we may be the team that surprises in the Final 16,” of the FFA Cup. The Osaka native’s comments come on the back of Rockdale City’s disappointing NSW Premier League season. The Suns finished sixth, and out of a place in the end of season finals.
Though the right back has been used in midfield at times in his Rockdale City career, any attacking forays against a full strength Melbourne Victory outfit would be fraught with danger. It’s likely that Murayama will be dealing with marauding Tunisian Khalid Ben Khalfallah. [For more on Takuya Murayama, grab the current edition of JSOCCER magazine]
Now under the guidance of player/manager Paul Reid, the Suns will line up as $17.00 outsiders and despite being hosts, the Sydney club has been forced to play the match at nearby Jubilee Oval. Regular home Ilinden Park (Bicentennial Park) failed to meet FFA ground lighting criteria.
When quizzed on the matter, Rockdale City’s Japanese import noted the ground issue as a setback as A-League players would have struggled with the Ilinden Park surface, particularly after a full season of NSW Premier League action.
In the Suns favour is the disparity in ‘knowledge of the opponent’ between the sides. Due to the NSW Premier League receiving very little video/television coverage, the big guns from Melbourne will know very little about their opponents. On the other hand, the home team have an intrinsic knowledge of A-League stars such as Berisha, Thompson, Finkler and the aforementioned Khalfallah.
Additionally, former Newcastle Jet Marco Jesic and A-League journeyman Dylan Macallister will add more top level experience and know-how for the team’s big moment.
Rockdale City will also line up with a distinctly Japanese flavour as right back Murayama is joined by 26 year old Mitsuhiro Iwamoto. The attacker will likely take his place as a substitute in Tuesday’s subscription television broadcast. [For more on Mitsuhiro Iwamoto, grab the current edition of JSOCCER magazine.] Murayama also gave special mention to right winger Tougic Alemeddine as a player to watch in tomorrow’s clash.
Catch the action from 07:30pm AEST on FoxSports or on the FFA Cup’s live streaming option (tedious registration process involved).