They’ve made a habit of success in recent seasons and now Sydney FC are three matches from breaking new ground in the FFA Cup.
Almost 12 months on from a pulsating extra-time triumph over Adelaide United in the 2017 Grand Final, the Sky Blues are beginning to sniff a shot at history as they prepare for Wednesday’s Quarter Final date with the dangerous Avondale FC at ABD Stadium.
The key question is fast emerging: can the holders become the first club to go back-to-back?
Doing so would certainly be a sensational way for club great Steve Corica to begin his reign.
Tough terrain ahead
For all the confidence hard-earned wins over Rockdale City Suns and Cairns FC will have given Corica’s side, the true test begins here and now.
Clearing the first two hurdles of the Final Rounds has merely put them in the same realm as each of the three teams that have come before them.
Adelaide United, Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City can all attest to the next two stages being a graveyard for reigning Champions.
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Indeed, only one of those – the Victory side of 2016 – survived as far as the Semi Finals, where they were beaten by rivals and eventual winners City.
Not one has progressed to the decider, adding an extra layer of potential prestige to what would be an almighty achievement.
And that’s without mentioning the tantalising incentive of getting square with a rival.
Squaring the ledger
Sydney FC’s dramatic loss at the hands of Victory in last season’s Hyundai A-League Semi Finals must rank highly among the club’s most gut-wrenching results.
Not only did it dash Graham Arnold’s hopes of consecutive Grand Final triumphs, it put their Big Blue foes in a position to move a step ahead on the battleground for silverware.
Victory, courtesy of their success against Newcastle Jets, now boast eight major domestic trophies to Sydney FC’s seven.
The FFA Cup represents an admittedly indirect chance to put that right.
It’s the kind of motivation that can spur a talented team to unprecedented heights.
Hope in the past
Corica, scorer of the goal that gave Sydney FC their maiden Hyundai A-League Champions Trophy back in 2006, has gone from creating a legacy to now attempting to uphold one.
In replacing Arnold, the man he assisted for four seasons, the rookie head coach is seeking to bridge eras while keeping a battle-hardened squad in contention for titles.
And yet, it may not be his former Caltex Socceroos team-mate that he will look to for inspiration in this FFA Cup quest.
In Pierre Littbarski and Vitezslav Lavicka, Corica has two forebearers to serve as models for the influence new coaches can exert on Australian football.
The one-time midfielder is intrinsically tied to both ex-Sky Blues mentors, winning the inaugural Hyundai A-League Grand Final under the former and then – with his final season prematurely ended by injury – assisting the latter to the double in 2009/10.
Can ‘Bimbi’ emulate those debut achievements and steer Sydney FC to a slice of history?
Get past Avondale in the Quarter Finals and it will look a whole lot more possible.