Words: Michael Flynn & Thibault Berthier | Image: Sportspics
Gold Coast City midfielder Roman Hofmann is cool under pressure from the penalty spot, but is hoping his spot-kick skills are not required in the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32.
Hofmann and his City teammates line-up against Western Knights in the make-or-break clash on Wednesday night – marking their first competitive match on the national stage in two seasons.
City have twice made this stage of the competition before, notching wins each time against Sydney City Hakoah in 2014 and South Melbourne in 2015.
Their opponents this year are less heralded than those two former NSL powerhouses, however, the Western Australia based Knights bring pedigree of their own into the match after recently claiming the Football West Coolridge Cup title.
They also defeated local PlayStation 4 NPL Western Australia heavyweight Perth SC and Bayswater City on their way to their maiden appearance at this stage of the tournament.
Hofmann said it is crucial City stick to their natural game against Knights regardless of the setting – a style of play that has seen them lead the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland competition for much of the year.
The Gold Coast local product and former Newcastle Jets Youth player says that advancing to the next round without resorting to a nail-biting penalty shoot-out is a top priority.
“The plan is to get the job done in the 90 minutes, but if it comes down to penalties then I trust our coach will do what he thinks best in that situation and we will go from there.”
“At the moment I am the penalty taker, but we’ve got plenty of players that can step up to the plate at any given time.”
He added, “We haven’t talked about what order penalties will be taken in and by who because we want to win in normal time.”
City boast an impressive record in shoot-outs in cup competition.
They famously defeated Hellas in a shoot-out in 2015, as well as prevailing in an epic 23 shot penalty shoot-out in qualifying that same year against local Gold Coast outfit Broadbeach United – with Hofmann striking that evening’s decisive penalty kick.
“I was part of that shoot-out against Broadbeach. I remember celebrating when (goalkeeper) Shane (Viitakangas) saved a penalty before realising I had to take another one,” Hofmann recalled with a laugh.
Outside of spot-kicks, Hofmann is one of the unsung heroes of the City squad. Despite his consistency in a holding midfielder role, the nature of the position means he rarely gets the headlines.
“I’ve been really happy with my form this year and it’s come down to playing a consistent role after playing a number of positions in recent years.”
“But I’ve never been the type of player that needs the spotlight. I am happy to do the work that has to be done in the background to ensure we get the three points. It’s all about the team for me.”
He said in addition to his talented teammates, City will also be boosted by the fabled ‘twelfth man’ on Wednesday night – a vocal and supportive home crowd.
“It’s just massive to have the home crowd in these types of games and we are quite confident of having a good number there to cheer us on Wednesday night.”
Now in his third season with City, Hofmann added that amongst the loyal band of club fans this week will be one of his biggest and most loyal personal supporters.
“My dad will be there. He loves it and has been a regular at games this year,” he said before adding that the broadcast by Fox Sports will also mean a number of far flung friends will also be able to tune in.
“I’m sure I will have a few friends watching in Melbourne and Newcastle too on the live stream. It’s really exciting to play these games and know that everyone gets behind you,” he concluded.
Westfield FFA Cup 2017 – Round of 32
Gold Coast City FC V Western Knights FC
Wednesday August 2 | 7:30PM
Duncan Mckenna Field, Palm Beach
Tickets (at the gate) - Adults $15, Concession $5, Under 5's FREE
Watch the match via LIVE STREAM via broadcast partner Fox Sports - https://www.foxsports.com.au/football/ffa-cup/live-stream
Gold Coast City FC Squad (two to be omitted): 1. Matthew STEIN, 2. Riley DILLON, 3. Oskar DILLON, 4. Martin VAZQUEZ, 5. Matthew SCHMIDT, 6. Roman HOFMANN, 7. Justyn MCKAY (in), 8. Harry LIEBKE, 9. Jarrod KYLE, 10. Jacob BOUTOUBIA, 11. Nikola MIRKOVIC (in), 12. Joshua MUSSELL, 14. Benjamin LYVIDIKOS, 15. Eoghan MURPHY, 18. Jason CAMPBELL, 20. Joshua LANGDON, 21. Sam SMITH, 22. Jaiden WALKER