Sydney FC have made a disappointing start to their 2012/13 National Youth League campaign, beaten 4-2 by Perth Glory on Sunday.
Returning to domestic duties after finishing third in a recent six-nation under-21 tournament in Vietnam, the Sky Blues scored first before falling into a deep hole.
Moving the ball smartly on the vast ANZ Stadium arena, Glory grabbed three goals during a 15-minute period in the first half to seal their first points of the season.
The early signs were good for Sydney, with Perth's goal under constant threat.
Joshua MacDonald was causing all sorts of problems down Glory's left and was unlucky not to have created the first goal before Alec Urosevski struck gold on 17 minutes.
The striker twisted and turned his way out of trouble inside the box before sliding the ball home for a wonderful individual goal.
But no sooner had celebrations subsided than Perth were back on equal footing.
Jesse Makarounas found Adrian Zahra with a good ball and he squeezed his shot home from close range in the 20th minute.
Seven minutes later the visitors took the lead.
A deep corner from Riley Woodcock found Brandon O'Neill on the edge of the box and he launched into a first-time volley that snuck inside the right post.
Perhaps showing signs of fatigue from their travels, Sydney conceded again 10 minutes before the break.
A hopeful long-distance shot from Matthew Davies inexplicably slipped from goalkeeper Ryan Norval's grasp and dropped into the net.
Sydney awoke from their slumber early in the second half, regaining the fluency and purpose that deserted them late in the first half.
They pulled a goal back six minutes after the resumption via a wonder free kick from Peter Triantis.
The gifted No.8 let fly from 20m and left the keeper stranded with a shot that smacked the top left corner of the net.
The hosts enjoyed a good period for the next 20 minutes but were unable to pull back an equaliser.
Perth put the issue beyond doubt with a goal to substitute Harry O'Brien in the 79th minute.
Sydney FC 2 (Alec Urosevski 17, Peter Triantis 51)
Perth Glory 4 (Adrian Zahra 21, Brandon O'Neill 27, Matthew Davies 36, Harry O'Brien 79)
Sydney FC: Norval, Calver, Dotti, Gligor, Macdonald, Naumoff, Slater (Lo 60), Speranza, Stergiou, Triantis, Urosevski Bench: Bouzanis, Kofinar, Nicholis
Perth Glory: Collard, Davies (Soale 45), Kalau, Lowry, Makarounas, Makeche (O'Brien 45), O'Neill, Quaqua, Spence, Woodcock, Zahra. Bench: Sam, Shuruma