Monday, March 27, 2006

Tony Faria; Believe the hype

A perfect 10 for Faria has A-League eyes prying

Six rounds into the NSW premier league season and the only thing likely to get in the way of the Marconi Stallions bolting away with a minor premiership is the likely clamour from A-League clubs for its players, which could yet decimate the team before the finals kick-off in July.

On the evidence of their eye-catching performance against Sydney Olympic at Belmore last night, a 4-1 drubbing, there is little doubt that most of the interested A-League onlookers, which included the likes of the Central Coast Mariners’ manager Lawrie McKinna and NZ Knights brains trust of John Adshead and Eddie Krncevic, would be lining up for a chat with a number of Brian Brown’s men.

The Stallions are a team littered with NSL experience, but one in particular has been attracting all the headlines and is undoubtedly the hottest property in state league football at the moment. Left sided flyer Tony Faria, familiar to some from his days at Northern Spirit, lived up to the recent hype with another outstanding contribution, terrorising Olympic’s right side with his pace and finishing composure, setting up the first goal four minutes in with another of his incisive forays down the left, before bagging a double to take his tally for the season to 10.

So instrumental was Faria that the match was effectively over by the 15th minute mark, Marconi up 2-0 thanks to goals from he and John Buonavoglia. The first came when Faria’s pace took him deep into Olympic’s half, his cross met by impressive striker Bruce D’Jite, who teed it up for Buonavoglia, already well known for his contributions at NSL and A-League level.

Ten minutes later the speedy trio combined again to cause Olympic’s back three all sorts of headaches, Faria combining with D’Jite, a product of the AIS, before a lovely give and go with Buonavoglia inside the Olympic box. After a simple finish, out came the twinkle-toes dance on half-way line that has become his trademark and may yet become a feature of A-League season number two.

In truth, Olympic were playing a suicidal game of three on three at the back, with Damon Collina, Michael Cindric and Kosta Lagoudakis never a chance of keeping tabs with Marconi’s electric front line.

By the time Olympic manager Michael Urukalo reshuffled his pack by introducing right back Dominic Arcella and swapping defender Lagoudakis with midfielder Peter McPherson around at the break, the damage had been done, Faria helping himself to a second just before the break when he was left unmarked on the edge of the box. He turned, sat Olympic’s keeper Cem Akilli on the ground, and finished neatly.

What has been so impressive about Faria this season has not only been his electric pace, but the composure of his finishing. While Olympic’s defending made it look easier than it should have been, Faria’s mobility would create headaches for most A-League defences.

Thin, but tall and athletic, Faria is almost a local version of Thierry Henry in appearance, prancing around the paddock with the same confident swagger as the famous Frenchman. How Faria handles the physical stuff that is sure to come with the increased attention will decide how far he goes in the game.

His best bet is to stick to the things that have got him this far, a combination of pace, good technique and awareness.

While most of his work is on the left, both his goals came from central runs, showing he can pop up in any area and hurt teams. Essentially, he appears to have been given a license to roam by Brown, with Marconi’s formation altering between a 4-3-3 when Faria decides to spring forward and a conventional 4-4-2 when he tucks into the traditional left midfield role.

Faria hasn’t been asked to do too much defending, freeing him to get forward and influence the attack. The screening last night was done by a solid midfield trio of Simon Catanzaro, Vuko Tomasevic and neat youngster Adam D’Apuzzo, who combined to out-power the diminutive likes of Zenon Caravella and Anthony Doumanis in the Olympic midfield.

Catanzaro, a former teammate of Faria at Northern Spirit, has bulked up considerably since his NSL days, giving Marconi a physical presence in midfield.

At the back, Brown has assembled one of the most experienced rearguards around, with former Spirit trio of Matthew Langdon, Luke Casserly and Michael Cunico joined by right back Paul Cotte, with former Sydney United and Parramatta Power custodian Andrew Crews between the sticks.

And then to have the option of bringing on the likes of Naoki Imaya and Dion Valle, both with top flight experience in Australia, it is little wonder the Stallions have a maximum return from their six games.

The on-field tests will no doubt come, with Bankstown City, Sydney United, Blacktown City and Manly United all sure to provide some stern opposition in the coming weeks, but off the field the biggest headache for Brown is how much the watching A-League clubs will cut a swathe through his squad ahead of the finals.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Gosford Harry said...

Thanks for the insight into Faria. Yes, he's been the talk of the town, I've seen some of his goals on sbs but i haven't watched him play since his days at Northern Spirit.

He msut have imporved a fair bit since then.

It's a pity if Marconi and other squads are torn apart by A-League clubs, but I'm sure the players would love to make the step up, just as Dean Heffernan did for the Mariners.

Tue. Mar. 28, 01:56:00 pm AEDT  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

Yep, you're spot on harry, for the players the NSW and Victorian premier leagues and the others state leagues around the country have become vital stepping stones to a possible career in the A-League. The eyes of the A-League are and should be watching. The example of Dean Heffernan is a perfect one. Twelve months ago, like many others, his career was in limbo, a former NSL player having to kick-around in the state league for Marconi to make ends meet and hope someone was watching. It so happened that McKinna was and we all know what a revelation he was for the Mariners this season. Now, if word from Germany is to be believed, he's on the verge of signing a professional contract, a staggering 12 or so months for him.

It proves there is a future for the likes of Faria and other former NSL players if they perform consistently well. It is also a great shopping front for youngsters like Adam D'Apuzzo and Bruce D'Jite, both of whom looked good on Sunday. Others will emerge over the course of the season, so the state leagues should make for fascinating viewing.

Interestingly, McKinna was in the crowd on Sunday night, so it'll be interesting to see if Faria is in his thoughts. It made me think that if Heffernan does leave, Faria may be a ready made substitute, not as a left back, but as a left sided flyer. The Mariners would lose nothing in pace. I'm sure they won't be the only ones after him though.

Tue. Mar. 28, 02:36:00 pm AEDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article on a dominant performance by the stallions,i too agree that this team will lose many of its players to a-league clubs at seasons end.Tony Faria in dazzling form scoring goals with speed to burn, and the midfield trio of Catanzaro,D'Appuzzo and Tomasevic were splendid.
Its not a question of if these players are good enough to play at the next level, its when will they get there opportunity too.
I believe Catanzaro has been linked with talks with Adelaide
United and Tomasevic with Central Coast Mariners, as well as many other clubs looking at this well assembled squad.
Naoki imaya is another you will see in the A-league again soon

Mon. Apr. 03, 11:49:00 am AEST  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

Geez, another week, another bag-full for Faria, the bloke is on fire. 13 goals in 7 weeks, from 6 starts, some record.

Thats two weeeks on the trot that Marconi have played a role in a coach resigning, first Oympic's Mike Urukalo and now Sydney United's Zlatko Arambasic stepping aside after being whipped by the Stallions

As for player transfers, will be very interesting seeing who ends up where, but I agree that Noaki Imaya can play. I felt terribly sorry for him when he injured himself for NZ midway through last season, he was having a blinder of a game, getting back to his best after an injury interrupted season.

Wouldnt be entirely surprised if Catanzaro heads back to Adelaide, from memory that's where he played state league a couple of season's back with Adelaide Olympic, where he scored the Sergio Melta award for best player in the comp. I'm sure Kosmina would have seen him then, and has been following him since. Geez, he would add further muscle to an already physical Adelaide side.

Tomasevic, who was probably a bit hot and cold in his younger days, appears to be maturing and becoming more consistent.

McKinna and Kosmina proved last season they are astute judges of a player and can mould a squad, so will be fascinating to see how they tinker in the off-season.

Mon. Apr. 03, 01:44:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Round Ball,

As i have seen many games Marconi have played this year, both pre season and in season,who would you like to see make the step up to the A league from this current batch, from previous comments from others it seems as though there are quite a few in this current crop who are in the eyes of "supporters" or "followers" easily good enough to step up.
And,
which clubs for the respective players.
In my eyes this team is DEFINANTLY good enough now as a team to match any a league side.
Very good article too that you have written.

Tue. Apr. 04, 01:42:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spot on,
there are players in VIC and NSW that are good enough to be playing A League but there is not enough teams,
FFA should bump league up to 12 then 14 teams.

Tue. Apr. 04, 01:45:00 pm AEST  

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