A-League team of the week, round seven
AN interesting round that saw most of the teams turn it on for only 45 minutes, meaning not many players shone for the full 90. Adelaide had an excellent second half, Perth were good in the first period and ordinary in the second, Queensland were rocking as they attacked The Cove but shut up shop after the break, and Melbourne, with their confidence high, finished better than they started. So here are the best of the week, in an attacking 3-2-3-2 (3-5-2);
Danny Vukovic, CCM, keeper; seems strange to be including a bloke who conceded three goals in the team of the week, but had it not been for Vukovic it might have been a few more. Made a number of top-notch saves in the second half as Adelaide totally dominated, denying Owens with one memorable out-stretched save to his right and tipping a couple over the bar thanks to good positioning. Might have done better for Rees’s goal.
Sasa Ognenovski, QR, right stopper; although Sydney only shaped up with one up front in Zdrilic, soon enough Carbone was joining the front line, but every time he did, Ognenovksi was close by, tracking his runs and pushing into the midfield to deny him space to turn. After the failed experiment of using him in midfield in round six to try and nullify Fred, he showed he is more comfortable at the back and continued his great form.
Rodrigo Vargas, MV, central defender; continued his marvelous run with an all-conquering display at the back, helping Melbourne keep another clean sheet. Springing forward to launch a number of counter-attacks, his killer ball with the outside of the right foot that set up Allsopp’s second was a gem.
Andrew Durante, NJ, left stopper (pictured above challenging Danny Allsopp, who is also in the team of the week, courtesy of www.newcastlejets.com.au); another ball playing defender in the Vargas mold, this was his best game since coming back from a second leg-break. Demonstrating that the confidence and strength is returning, he tackled hard and, characteristically, brought the ball out of defence well. Despite being on yet another losing Jets side, it’s good to see a player once earmarked as a future Socceroo rediscovering some confidence.
Simon Colosimo, PG, central midfield; particularly when Perth were on top in the first half, Colosimo was everywhere, breaking up the Knights and prompting the likes of Despotovski forward. Should have sealed the game when he raced through in the second half, but fired too close to Turnbull.
Mass Murdocca, QR, central midfield; back in the starting 11 after being left on the bench in Melbourne, Murdocca picked up where he left off two week earlier, buzzing around the midfield, biting at his Sydney counterparts, rarely giving them an inch to breathe. Combining well with McKay and Dilevski, they had too much mobility for the likes of Topor-Stanley and McFlynn.
Bobby Petta, AU, right midfield; only his second start since arriving, this was the Petta we had been waiting for, full of good technique and the ability to go past players, particularly Tomasevic down the Mariners’ left. One move, when he won the ball deep in his own half, carried it over half-way, and played a nice give-and-go with Veart and then tried to lob Vukovic, would have been among the goals of the season. Delivery for Rees’s goal was a peach.
Steve Corica, SFC, attacking central midfield; not much in it between he and Matt McKay for the third central midfield role, Corica gets it for helping provide Sydney a life-line. After a couple of weeks paying for his sins against Newcastle, he was back pulling the strings and while Carbone was well looked after, Corica provided a couple of delightful crosses, one with the outside of the right foot that was almost headed in by Zdrilic, while he provided the free-kick that led Ceccoli’s bomb.
Nathan Burns, AU, left midfield; while he played left of Veart in a three man forward line, gets in as left midfielder. After a decent starting debut last week against Sydney, sealed by a wonder first goal, he produced an even better all-round display against the Mariners, giving their retreating defence all sorts of headaches with his pace, drive and dribbling ability. After a couple of near misses, showed wonderful composure to round out the scoring when he sat Vukovic on his backside and found the corner. Two goals in two starts, some beginning to his A-League career.
Reinaldo, QR, striker; retuning to the starting 11 after being left out of last weeks trip to Melbourne, he caused Sydney FC’s central defensive duo of Bingley and Rudan, along with anchor midfielder McFlynn all sorts of problems in the first half, dropping into the midfield, shielding the ball, winning the aerial duels, turning and facing the goal and dribbling at players. Responsible for winning the free kick that gave the Roar the lead, he gets a target-man role ahead of Veart, who was excellent in scoring one and setting up another on Friday.
Danny Allsopp, MV, striker; no Archie, no problems. Enter Allsopp, who shouldered the scoring burden with another two to keep the pressure on the unlikely Muscat in the golden boot race. While he didn’t see as much of the ball as he has been due to some excellent high up pressing from Newcastle, when the game was on the line, he produced. His second finish, shadowing Vargas’ through ball, waiting for Kennedy to commit and dinking it over him was the work of a man on top of the world.