Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A-League team of the week, round 21

THE final round, the final A-League team of the week for season two, this was one of the toughest to choose, with some accomplished performances from Newcastle, Sydney, New Zealand and Adelaide. Naturally, players from those four teams make up the following 4-4-2. In a number of positions there were numerous choices, except in goal where, for once, no keeper really stood out. Here it is;

Clint Bolton, SFC, keeper; of the keepers that kept a clean sheet, Covic looked shaky on crosses and Paston hardly had a touch. Bolton conceeded one, exposed by his backs, and generally looked a little hesitant using his feet, but he did make one crucial stop, from Mori, that gave Sydney it's semi final birth.

Ruben Zadkovich, SFC, right back; Alagich has improved markedly over the past few weeks but Zadkovich again took his opportunity as a fill-in right-sided wing-back, dominating his flank and providing much drive for Sydney, allowing Carney to duck infield and create an extra number in midfield. Errant a couple of times with his distribution, his adaptability (he can readily shift from a conventional right back to a wing-back, and back again) gives Butcher a nice little option on the right.

Iain Fyfe, SFC, central defender; while Costanzo and Valkanis continued their recent strong form on Sunday, Fyfe, shifted to right stopper in a back three, was excellent under fire in the second period. Exposed for the first goal, his fully-stretched effort late in the game to get back and cut out a dangerous cross from the right was top draw. Rudan was also strong alongside him.

Paul Okon, NJ, central defender; back into the starting line-up, probably to protect Durante, Okon was in the unfamiliar left stopper role, between North and Thompson. Defending fairly deep and keeping things well organised, Okon's lack of pace was rarely exposed. Indeed, Okon was able to provide not only organisation in defence, but quality on the ball, responsible for starting much of the Jets good stuff going forward. Combined well with Thompson and linked well with Musalik, Carle and his front men.

Matt Thompson, NJ, left back; The Hyphen, Topor-Stanley, can feel unlucky not to make this one after a solid second half showing, but Thompson's drive was again such a feature of this total Jets performance, involved in the third before playing the final ball for the fourth. Melbourne's right side never had a look in.

Mark Bridge, NJ, right midfield; his teammate, Griffiths, was also immense, but Bridge demonstrated his predatory best, feeding off the mistakes of both Vargas and Lia, part of which where his doing. The Jets like to defend from the front, squeezing teams high, and Bridge is a leading component. Special mention to Hickey, who was excellent on Sunday, terrorising Lee, while Dodd had his best game for some time.

Ufuk Talay, SFC, defensive central midfield; sent off late for a tug on Vidosic, let that not detract from an outstanding performance, controlling the midfield and tempo of the match with neat link up work with his backs, wide men and Corica. Sydney have rarely passed it better, and Talay's contribution was a bit factor. Hard to ignore the performance of Aloisi, one of his best this season, while the two Knights midfielders, Johnson and Salley, were strong.

Tim Brown, NJ, central midfield; hard to leave out his teammate Carle, Sydney's Corica and Adelaide's Diego, all influential playmakers, but Brown's workrate must be rewarded. Surprisingly starting ahead of Kohler, it was a master-stroke by van Egmond, Brown getting right up in Muscat and Brebner's face, never allowing them a second on the ball. Immense stuff.

Bobby Petta, AU, left midfield; in the starting line-up for the second week on the trot, showed his experience with another calm display, giving Porter a thorough working over. Getting to the ball ahead of him on the sideline, he set up the first, before playing the final ball for the third. At his best, before a mid-season injury, he made United play. With Spagnuolo so impressive down the left this season, Kosmina wil have to decide whether he goes for experience or youth, or perhaps shifts one of them to the right at the expense of Dodd. Gao was also brilliant down the left against Coyne and has really impressed in his time at the Knights. On this evidence, worth another crack next season.

Malik Buari, NZK, striker; no Marcina, no worries. In stepped make-shift Buari, running the Glory defence ragged with his workrate and good combination with Emblen, unlucky not to be a part of this team himself. Created the first with a neat shot on the turn before pouncing ahead of Tomich for the second.

Nathan Burns, AU, striker; the contribution of his teammate Djite off the bench shouldn't be underestimated, but Burns takes all the glory in this one, bagging the match-ball with some clinical poaching. Showed awareness to get into the box late for the first and calmness to get his second and third.

That completes TRBA's look at the players that stood out on a week to week basis throughout season two. If you'd like to catch up on any of the teams of the week, they're linked on the right. Stay tuned this week as I take a comprehensive look at the players that have stood out in season two in TRBA team of the season, and there's more, including a team of the finals in four weeks time....

2 Comments:

Anonymous colin said...

not sure about your talay pick in midfield. the rest of the team looks fine

Thu. Jan. 25, 03:06:00 pm AEDT  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

Hi colin, thanks for the comment.

Was this based on the fact Talay was sent off, or you just felt he wasn't that influential on this night?

Fri. Jan. 26, 10:23:00 am AEDT  

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