Youngsters continue to make impression
A-League round 9 analysis
WITH all the shenanigans at Sydney FC this week, haven’t really found the time to dive into a comprehensive wrap of what I thought was a very good round of football, so here’s a briefer than normal snapshot of the things that caught the eye, both good and bad. Hope you still find it relevant;
NJ 1 v QR 1
- Seeing the kids light it up, with Zullo and Kruse standing out for the visitors and James Holland brilliant for the hosts. What a couple of brilliant games from Holland, hope to see him again very soon.
- The way Queensland came out pressing Newcastle high up the pitch and disrupted their early passing rhythm. Worked a treat, they got themselves the goal.
- The way the Jets worked themselves back into the game, sticking to their patient passing game and going backward to start again if nothing was on. It confirmed they are arguably the best passing team in the comp, and that this style can also create openings.
- The overall quality of the game which featured two teams that really wanted to play.
- The defensive performance of Moore and Ognenovski – building up a nice little partnership.
- The performance of Laybutt, who not only gave away the penalty that Covic saved from Moore, but generally looked hesitant, slow and a bit too aggressive.
SFC 0 v AU 1
- Adelaide looked far too silky across the pitch and overall had too much pace and movement for Sydney, controlling all but the second half of the first half.
- Their midfield combination of Salley holding, surrounded by Pantelis and Diego was too mobile and powerful for Sydney, while Cassio chimed in well down the left.
- Sydney’s best was Adam Casey, playing in the unfamiliar central midfield. In the second half of the first half, he provided a spark, driving out of the midfield and utilising the space down the right to provide a couple of telling crosses.
- After Sydney had dominated that period before the break, Aurelio Vidmar cancelled Branko Culina out by going to a similar 3-5-2. United controlled it from there, hats off to Vidmar.
- Beltrame looked hesitant and heavy, especially in dealing with crosses.
- Sydney missed Milligan. The back three, patrolled by Popovic, was constantly exposed for pace and looked disorganised. Popovic isn’t a sweeper, while Rudan looked lost without the pace of Milligan nearby.
- Sydney was dominated in the holding midfield, Talay and Juninho powerless to deal with the drive and penetration of Diego, Pantelis and Dodd, who dropped infield to led support and create the goal.
- As a result, the front two had little service and Brosque had his worst game in some time.
WP 1 v CCM 2
- The workrate and fighting capabilities of Simon. He mightn’t be technically flash (indeed, he’s rough) but his workrate is immense and he went all the way to the final whistle, hassling the Phoenix defence and forcing panic, which was enough for Petrovski to pounce.
- After going behind, the hosts, led by their marquee man Elrich, fought back, playing the better football. Their goal was a peach, brilliantly taken by Elrich, who despite his lack of fitness, was magnificent. Went all afternoon, and looks like he’s added some mobility and football smarts to his game. Before Europe he was one-dimensional, up and down the flank, but here he drifted infield and linked up with people around box. Very impressed and surprised.
- The news that Kwasnik put his hand up to play off the bench, despite being injured. Typical Mariners.
- The Phoenix deserved at least a point, possibly more, but their Achilles heel was their defending, especially through the middle. O’Dor and Dodd have improved in recent weeks, but here they were back to their worst, gifting the Mariners their goals. O’Dor was responsible for the first, Christie the second with a terrible backpass.
- Kwasnik took the pens last season, but Petrovksi decided to take their first for the season and screwed it. Now Aloisi’s on board, who takes them? Personally, I remember Pondeljak being pretty handy from the spot…spoilt for choice.
MV 2 v PG 1
- Victory’s first 30 minutes, simply brilliant, their best of the season. Hernandez combined really well with Thompson, who was really in the mood from the start, clearly intent on putting behind him breaky-gate.
- In the heat, Perth finally realised that it’s no use going long againt Melbourne. They started to get the ball on the deck and get it wide, where the narrow Melbourne appear most vulnerable this year. And it worked, Downey getting some change down the right and Topor-Stanley bombing on down the left. Harnwell loved it, and so started a great contest with Vargas and Theoklitos.
- Melbourne’s second half was the most bizarre imaginable. They basically dropped back to their 18 yard box, let Perth have the flanks and were prepared to just sit back and defend their 2-1 lead.
- Good thing Perth had no creativity, subtlety or imagination around the box. Instead, Perth just kept getting it wide and knocked in predictable crosses, which Melbourne, inspired by Theoklitos, dealt with for the remainder of the evening.
- Smith seemed content to just keep doing this and it became comfortable for the hosts.
- If it was Merrick’s idea to just sit back and protect their lead, he was lucky. He’ll get punished against a better team than Perth.
TRBA team of the week (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper; Theoklitos (MV)
Defenders; Cornthwaite (AU), Vargas (MV), Ognenovski (QR), Cassio (AU)
Midfield; Holland (NJ), Jedinak (CCM), Diego (AU)
Attack; Ahmand Elrich (WP), Thompson (MV), Kruse (QR)