Five things we learned from A-League Round 3

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A bid for national team recognition and one managerial masterstroke headlined what was a rather goal-laden round three of A-League football.

Welcome back to the Socceroos

Craig Goodwin’s bid to return to the Socceroos fold for this month’s international friendlies took a huge step this past week.

With national team boss Graham Arnold in attendance, Goodwin stepped up with four goals and an assist in two games as Adelaide United won the FFA Cup and a routine A-League trip away to the Central Coast Mariners.

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The left-sided winger was at his electric best and if the nature of his goals against the Mariners were rather fortuitous, his Cup brace against the Sky Blues was anything but.

Having scored seven goals in seven competitive games for the Reds this season, the 26-year-old is now well placed to earn his first call-up since 2016.

And, given the reception Robbie Kruse received following the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Goodwin’s re-introduction may be the cure long-time detractors have been yearning for.

Everything is as it Siems

Sydney FC fans feared the worst when marquee signing Siem de Jong limped off in the Sydney Derby, but they should have seen it coming.

For all his unquestionable talent, the Netherlands international has found form and injury inseparable throughout his career, most notably with Premier League outfit Newcastle United.

And while many thought his six-week absence from the Sky Blues would be felt on Friday night, it took replacement Paulo Retre 16 minutes to make sure it wasn’t.

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Retre’s deft goal and exquisite assist helped Steve Corica’s side to a deserved 3-0 win over Melbourne City in front of 12,086 fans at AAMI Park.

The versatile midfielder’s goal, his first for the club since arriving from City in 2017, was one of several standout moments in his 63-minute showing; the early substitution a reward following his midweek exertions in the FFA Cup final.

The move to insert Retre in place of de Jong has been one of many successful moves carried out by Corica and leaves the understrength defending Premiers on top of the league as a result.

Angry Aloisi

Brisbane Roar inflicted coach John Aloisi with what can colloquially be described as a “coach-killer” on Saturday night.

It is already the second instance this season in which Aloisi has suffered at the hands of his players but, only this time, Perth Glory escaped with all three points.

The Roar’s carefully considered game plan was thrown out the window from the opening minute as the Glory asserted their authority with a host of chances, soon converted inside 15 minutes through Andy Keogh.

And, speaking after the 2-1 defeat, a frustrated Aloisi let his feelings known.

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“We worked on how we could stop them playing out and how we could press them – but the first goal we concede (when) we’re pressing,” Aloisi said.

“They go long and we get caught out, it just wasn’t good enough. We should have had six points from the first two games.

“It just disappoints me that we started so bad, that’s why I’m angry.”

The Roar will now look to end their winless rut next week in Mudgee against the Western Sydney Wanderers or else risk the wrath of their ill-tempered coach once again.

Windy Wellington

So much for home field advantage, Western Sydney Wanderers withstood horrendous Kiwi conditions to blow Wellington away 3-0 on Saturday.

Goals to Alexander Baumjohann, Oriol Riera and Jordan O’Doherty sealed a season-first three points for the Wanderers, who were without suspended coach Markus Babbel for the contest.

Babbel’s absence made little difference in truth, but the same cannot be said for a Phoenix side that looked to have turned the corner under Mark Rudan.

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“I take full responsibility for the result, there’s no dramas there,” Rudan said of his first league defeat.

“It’s a one-off performance as far as I’m concerned… if anything, I’m looking for a reaction from the players.”

With unusually glaring holes in midfield and defence, Rudan’s players will now view Friday’s match with Melbourne City as the perfect opportunity to redeem themselves. 

Grand final rehash

Almost six months on from Melbourne Victory’s controversial grand final triumph, the much-anticipated rematch yielded the same result.

A solitary Terry Antonis strike sealed a 1-0 win over the Newcastle Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium and lifted the Victory off the foot of the ladder in the process.

Much like last season’s decider, the Jets were made to rue missed chances in front of goal, typified by Ronnie Vargas’ crossbar-bound shot from the penalty spot.

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Ernie Merrick’s men have found the back of the net just twice through three games this season, a far cry from last season’s average of just over two, and are yet to fill the void left by the suspended Roy O’Donovan and injured Joey Champness.

Speaking after the match, Merrick remained rather calm regarding his side’s current predicament and viewed next weekend’s date with Sydney FC as the perfect opportunity to kick-start their season.

“I think if we play like that over the next few weeks, we’ll get three points,” he said.

“It was a commanding performance without the goals.”