Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Becks and his Galaxy add some Spice to all the hype

Sydney FC 5 v LA Galaxy 3

AS far as exhibitions and friendlies go, this was just about as good as it gets.

A magnificent turn-out, a vibrant and festive atmosphere, the main man living up to his end of the bargain, a sensational first half from 'the other' marquee, a host of accomplished displays from youngsters and veterans alike, goals galore and the enough Spice to highlight that Aussies and Yanks just don't do friendlies.

This was another great night of football at 'Australia's home ground'.

Of course, the majority of fans had flocked to see David Beckham, and they didn't leave disappointed, Becks proving just how prodigious a right peg he owns, dishing up one of his trademark free-kicks just before the break, delightfully struck, and generally stroking the ball from left to right, short or long, with the precision of a surgeon.

Playing in a withdrawn holding midfield role, one we haven't seen Beckham in too often and one which doesn't necessarily aid the balance of the LA side, gave him an opportunity to showcase his range of passing.

Whether he was hitting a diagonal ball 50 or 60 metres, or popping his foot under the ball and clipping one into midfield, the weight was eveything. His vision, too, was outstanding, while his delivery from the many corners he took was begging for someone like a Ruud van Nistolrooy to turn them into gold.

Ever the professional, he also survived a couple of hits, one of which (an accidental slip from Brendan Santalab) threatened to end his game after half an hour. Later, he had a couple of run-ins with sub Robbie Middleby, and almost lost his bundle on a couple of occasions. But the mental toughness saw him hang in there and honour his commitment.

A friendly this wasn't.

Setting the tone for most of the night was the Galaxy's central defender Kevin Harmes, who had a forgetful night.

Not only was he part of a central defence they pulled apart by the movement of Alex Brosque and the precision of Juninho and Ufuk Talay, but Harmes made himself very unpopular with the FC players, especially skipper Tony Popovic, first smashing Juninho into oblivion, before stomping on Adam Biddle's arm in the second period.

It was ugly work all round from the Galaxy central defence and new manager Ruud Guillt will be hoping he has the experienced Abel Xavier back soon.

Biddle may have been lucky to survive a straight red for retaliation, but it was easy to see why he and his skipper were so incensed.

The young Sydney right winger was one of Sydney's many success stories, his direct running always proving troublesome for Galaxy left back Ante Jazic. On the other side, both Nick Tsattalios and Ruben Zadkovich did well, while through the middle there was some eye-catching work from Talay, Juninho, Santalab and Brosque.

Fittingly for an exhibition, there was plenty of space in midfield, and the visitors enjoyed it just as much as the hosts. Landon Donovan, the usual skipper, was oustanding, a neat combination of pace and excellent work on the ball, while Clint Mathis did some sound stuff.

The Galaxy's constant switching of play, from right to left and back again, was wonderful to watch and a lesson many A-League teams have yet to learn. Problem for LA was that they lacked a cutting edge, and Brosque always looked the most dangerous striker on the pitch.

On this evidence, Guillt needs a stronger spine; a goalkeeper (or two), central defender, holding midfielder and striker.

As for Sydney, after a nervous start, this was an excellent display, especially in front of so many new fans. The Cove were magnificent, a throw-back to season one, and the banner reminding "70,000 people; we play every week", was well thought.

Let's hope that many of the new fans come back for more, but more importantly, that more A-League games are as open, exciting and full of action as this great night for Australian football.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that Kosmina can stand around drinking 2 cups of coffee tells you this was not a serious approach from the coach other than giving the suspended Popovic a much needed run and giving the younger guys a run as well. Taking Juninioh off also proved how serious he was about winning the game.

The major disappointing thing about this game is that the younger players did prove themselves, but does Kosmina have the balls and insight to use these players for A-League games, I think not.


Wed. Nov. 28, 12:34:00 pm AEDT  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

macka, i cant quite remember if the coffee was part of his make-up in the nsl, but certianly in the a-league, both with ad utd and now syd, the coffee has been a kosmina feature...

at various times it's been via a styrofoam cup or mug, but last night i noticed it was Vittoria..

Coaches are an interesting breed, and if it helps kossie relax, then so be it...

Yes, i think it's hard to read too much into this game given it was an exhibition, but it looks to me like Tsattalios and Biddle are developing well...

Certainly i was impressed with Tsattalios the one time i did see him in the pre-season and was surprised Culina didnt use him more...

Will be interesting to see home Kossie uses him and Biddle from now on.

Wed. Nov. 28, 01:04:00 pm AEDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I would say Kosmina is a "mug" not a cup!!!!!!!

Wed. Nov. 28, 02:49:00 pm AEDT  
Blogger john said...

Great post Tony

Wed. Nov. 28, 09:55:00 pm AEDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thought Tsattalios is def one for the future...good left peg and looked composed on the ball

Wed. Nov. 28, 11:43:00 pm AEDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew we could rely on Macka to go right to the heart of the matter and find something to complain about.

Mr Pink

Thu. Nov. 29, 08:47:00 am AEDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Pink,

I didn't see too many of the young guns used in the match against the Jets.

Mon. Dec. 10, 04:26:00 pm AEDT  

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