Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A-League team of the week, round one

AS mentioned in my previous post, the hardest bit about choosing the team of the first round was narrowing the defenders down to three, as well as choosing a right-sided attacker. It wasn’t a round filled with free-flowing football, far from a glowing endorsement for the local game, so there weren’t too many stand-outs. Instead it was a round characterised by competitive and tight, aggressive football, much as we saw throughout the world cup. So here goes the team of the week, in 3-5-2;

Clint Bolton, Sydney FC (keeper); Michael Theoklitos set the pace with a number of good stops against Adelaide and Perth youngster Alex Vrteski did well on debut against Queensland, but Bolton came flying home with another outstanding performance to ensure Sydney won all three points.

Adrian Leijer, Melbourne Victory (defender); did much of the aerial defending on Shengqing Qu, competing physically with the striker who proved such a hand-full last season. Looked solid alongside new central partner Rodrigo Vargas.

Mark Rudan, Sydney FC (defender); in the absence of Jacob Timpano, looks to be forming a formidable physical presence at the heart of Sydney’s defence alongside Nikolai Topor-Stanley. Monstered over the Mariners’ make-shift striker Jamie McMaster for much of the evening, tight and disciplined.

Sasa Ognenovski, Queensland Roar (defender); a new-comer to the A-League but by no means a new-comer to those who have followed the local game for years. The former Melbourne Knights defender was back doing what he does best, dominating his opponent, Stuart Young, with excellent aerial strength. Also showed delightful subtlety on the ball when he clipped a well weighted pass into the chest of Dario Vidosic in the build up to the first goal.

Greg Owens, Adelaide United (right midfield); while he played in the middle on Friday, there is now room for him there, so his adaptability gets him a gig out wide. On a poor night for the visitors, Owens, now a permanent United player, was a regular menace through the middle. Perth’s Leo Bertos was the other right-sided player to shine, but I thought Owens did a little more.

Kevin Muscat, Melbourne Victory (central midfield); question marks about whether he could handle the move into midfield were answered with a fairly solid performance. Together with Grant Brebner and Fred, he got on top of the likes of Ross Aloisi and Carl Veart, keeping his distribution simple most of the time.

Jonas Salley, New Zealand Knights (central midfield); the former South Melbourne player from the Ivory Coast caught the eye with a terrific workrate and willingness to break up Newcastle’s midfield.

Alessandro, Melbourne Victory (left midfield); we only saw 45 minutes, but what we did see was well worth the wait. Within 15 minutes he was teasing and toying with Richie Alagich and skinned him to set up the first goal. It got better. As half-time approached, he produced an outrageous flick over Alagich, the type of move that should be applauded, particularly in a game that is becoming increasingly regimented. Long live the Alessandro’s of this world.

Fred, Melbourne Victory (attacking midfield); playing in front of Muscat and Brebner, Fred was the player of round one, controlling Friday night’s game for almost an hour with good movement and passing, before making way for Claudinho.

Dario Vidosic, Queensland Roar (striker); what an impact. Everything we’d heard about him was about his pace, but in the 20 or so minutes here he demonstrated he is a footballer first and foremost, showing the awareness, vision and feeling required to make it. Miron Bleiberg described him afterwards as a hidden gem. We can only hope the glowing praise doesn’t get to his head.

Joel Griffiths, Newcastle Jets (striker); he didn’t score, but Griffiths proved he will be a handful for most defences in the league, with his movement and pace troubling the likes of Neil Enblem and Che Bunce. Caught off-side on too many occasion, the timing should come with a couple more games.


Anonymous George G said...

not sure about rudan in the team of the week. looked slow and got caught out of position a few times.

Wed. Aug. 30, 10:07:00 am AEST  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

George, thanks for the comment.

As mentioned in my previous post I thought that defenders dominated the round one action and really I could have included any of the following in my team of the week - Vargas, Harnwell, Vidmar, Wilkinson, Durante and Topor-Stanley.

I thought Rudan and Topor-Stanley were both very physical and tough and Rudan keep things pretty well organised. Thought things at the back looked tighter for Syd than much of last season.

Thu. Aug. 31, 01:31:00 pm AEST  

Post a Comment

<< Home