Monday, September 11, 2006

A-League team of the week, round three

NO doubt about it, this was a week where the strikers shone. If it were possible, one could almost fill an entire 11 with front men, such was their domination over defenders. Adelaide set the ball rolling with Shengqing Qu and Fernando Rech having their best games of the season, while a day later Scot Simon Lynch did everything but bag a goal as the bag-pipe played in the background at a miserable Bluetongue. Yesterday, the strikers continued to dominate as both Danny Allsopp and Archie Thompson were lethal against New Zealand, while Sydney’s Saso Petrovski had his best game of the season, scoring in Perth. While impossible to fit them all in, there’s no doubt this week’s team is built to attack, in 3-4-3;

Aleks Vrteski, Perth Glory (goalkeeper); it wasn’t a week for flashy stuff between the sticks, but for safe and sound work. Yet the 17 year old made one brilliant reaction save from an Alvin Ceccoli volley in the first half and generally came off his line well. Couldn’t be faulted for Sydney’s goal, he has a calm and composed air for one so young.

Alvin Ceccoli, Sydney FC (left back); while Daniel Piorkowski did a solid job on Jonti Richter, Ceccoli gets the nod for the second week straight after an impressive first half against Perth. Reported to be suffering a virus, you would never have known, Ceccoli spending most of the first period overlapping and getting crosses in. Once again Sydney’s goal was conceded from the right side.

Angelo Costanzo, Adelaide United (central defender); finally back in the side thanks to a Mike Valkanis injury, Costanzo answered his manager with an assured and commanding display at the back. While he probably pushed up too much in the second half, leaving some holes that Newcastle may have better exploited, his performance gives John Kosmina an interesting selection poser when Valkanis comes back. Perhaps Robert Cornthwaite will get squeezed out, or Kosmina might have a re-think of his midfield.

Greg Owens, Adelaide United (right back); only on off the bench midway through the opening period, he made a massive impact for Adelaide, proving he is as adaptable as they come. Everything he did was technically neat and done with pace, and Newcastle struggled to control his forward thrusts.

Tom Pondeljak, Central Coast Mariners (right midfield); while he played centrally on Saturday, Pondeljak gets the gig just right of centre in this team after his first start of the campaign proved he isn’t far from his best. Twice he hit the post, the first a brilliant bit of skill, but it was his great use of the ball in such difficult conditions that marked his class.

Ross Aloisi, Adelaide United (central midfield); like most of the United team, has struggled in the opening two weeks, but given the space against Newcastle he was influential in recycling the ball and getting it to Qu, Rech and Spagnuolo. Also contributed to the second goal with one of his trademark free-kicks that caught Ben Kennedy out.

Jason Spagnuolo, Adelaide United (left midfield); surprisingly back in the starting 11 at the expense of Greg Owens, he was a constant menace to Labinot Haliti, who was back down to earth after an impressive round two. Exposing Haliti’s defensive inexperience, Spagnulo showed good awareness and belief to drive at and beyond him, with and without the ball.

Fernando Rech, Adelaide United (attacking central midfield); Playing closer to Qu, more as a second striker than the withdrawn midfielder we saw last week, it was the Rech (or Fernando as he’s now known) of old, imposing, influencing and getting on the end of things. Scored two and created another as he found space between Newcastle's defence and midfield and made himself difficult to track.

Archie Thompson, Melbourne Victory (right attacker); there’s been a lot of criticism of Thompson lately and in the main it’s been deserved. Since leaving the Victory for PSV last season, he has lost much of his sharpness (most likely down to not playing), but it all came flooding back on this miserable Auckland day. Combining beautifully with his midfield and co-striker Allsopp, he was a constant threat both on an off the ball, pressing the Knights defence all afternoon. Indeed, rarely has Thompson worked so hard on his defensive game, a point appreciated by manager Ernie Merrick afterwards. After setting up one, his goal was an absolute gem.

Danny Allsopp, Melbourne Victory (central striker); despite the boo boys, continues to work hard both on and off the pitch and is now getting his reward. Workrate has always been an Allsopp trait, but after a wasteful season last year, he is now adding the finishing touches to his hard work. Strong and deceptively quick, he combined beautifully with Thompson, and when Claudinho came on he dropped back and helped out into midfield.

Simon Lynch, Queensland Roar (left attacker); while he didn’t get on the score-sheet for the first time this season, was a regular headache for the likes of Alex Wilkinson, Tony Vidmar and Paul O’Grady, playing high up on the last man and getting in behind the Mariners on more than one occasion. While he should have scored at least one, his pace and work with the ball in such trying conditions was eye-catching.


Anonymous pinuts pethia said...

You could hardly blame the Sydney right-sided defence for that goal. It was simply a costly error from Bolton...maybe he doesn't like catching the ball delivered from his right?
It is true that Ceccoli does get ball over, but poor delivery is just as bad as no delivery at all.

Wed Sep 13, 01:28:00 pm AEST  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...


Thanks for the comment....

My point in noting that Perth's goal came from the right side of Sydney's defence was not to aportion blame on Sydney's right (clearly it was Bolton's goal, but the defence wasn't close enough to Bertos, so they played some part) but to emphasise that most of the goals conceeded by Sydney come in the right hand areas of defence.

The point is that Alvin Ceccoli rarely gets beaten on the left, he is one of the best defensive players in the country. Indeed, going back over Sydney's season and a bit and you struggle to remember the defence being breached too often down the left.

Going forward he's a completely different proposition, I agree totally. Indeed, I noted during the Socceroos/Kuwait Sydney clash how sloppy his distribution was.

Indeed, when he finally threaded the ball to Carney for the opener it was with the wrong foot, and I wouldnt be surprised if he was actually trying to hit Brosque and over-hit the ball.

Going forward, I agree, Ceccoli is hit and miss, but rarely does he have an off day defensively.

Thu Sep 14, 10:09:00 pm AEST  
Blogger Leo Garcia said...

Hey man, I don´t know if you remeber me. I´m Leo, a brazilian guy that met you in the World Cup. You asked me to write you about the new brazilian players and I just wrote about 4 players of my team... and what happened? Internacional of Porto Alegre won the Libertadores and will beat Barcelona in the end of the year (maybe Auckland too) to be the best team of the world. The shit is that we sold Rafael Sobis to Betis (he scored 2 times today against Sevilla) and Tinga to Borrussia. But we still have Fernandão and a bunch of good players.

See ya, Leo

Mon Sep 18, 09:41:00 am AEST  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

Leo, brother, how on earth can I forget you???

Watching the Sweden/Paraguay clash in the Beirgarten outside the main Olympic Stadium in Berlin with two Brazilians, hundreds of Swedes, a bunch of Mexicans, a bunch of Paraguayans and the beer and Vodka flowing ranks among my most memorable World Cup experiences.

And then to bump into you again outside the Fritz Walter in Kaiserslautern after we'd been bundled out by the Azzuri and hear the respect for Oz football from a Brazilian, music to the ears.

You were spot on about the Internacional of Porto Alegre, every time I catch some highlights or results, I think of their most passionate supporter, yourself. I have certainly been following those names you dropped off and am excited about Sobis, who you rated highly.

Let me ask you about a player who signed in the A-League from Internacional, Alessandro. He's a left sided player, not much as a defender, but exciting going forward. How did he fair at your club?

Tue Sep 26, 04:40:00 pm AEST  

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