Saturday, December 02, 2006


Hollow Reds

Three losses on the spin for Adelaide United then, and the prospect of missing out on the top four, unthinkable just a month or so ago, is now undeniable.

And it's useless to blame it all on Romario, who actually played far better last night. Critics of Adelaide's high-profile acquisition might instead point to the absence of Nathan Burns from his familiar striking role, which has undoubtedly been detrimental to Adelaide's play over the last few games. Last night, he looked badly misplaced on the right-hand side.

John Kosmina's side did, however, dominate for long periods at Hindmarsh. The first fifteen minutes of the second half were one-way traffic, with Matthew Kemp, having his best game in the A-League, making a number of penetrating runs down the left, and occasionally providing a useful cross. He was aided in this by Ernie Merrick's puzzling (to put it politely) decision to use Adrian Caceres, a left-winger, as his right-back.

Yet there was no-one to properly take advantage, and Adelaide's well-known propensity to defend dangerously high allowed Melbourne to score not one, but two straightforward goals on the break.

One thing that struck me particularly about Adelaide's effort last night was this.

Bobby Petta was still struggling with injury. Jason Spagnuolo was suspended. Travis Dodd made way for Daniel Beltrame after Robert Bajic's moment of insanity. Lucas Pantelis, of course, is out for the season.

That's Adelaide's four best wingers all absent. And yet for much of the game thereafter, they still made plenty of progress down the flanks, thanks to Kemp and the industrious Richie Alagich.

No other team in the A-League possesses Adelaide's depth out wide. Sadly, it is not matched by effective play in the centre.

Kosmina's persistence with Ross Aloisi simply defies common sense. Angelo Costanzo, whenever called upon to occupy the midfield anchor role, has been superb. The option of Aloisi's long, flat, outside-of-the-foot free kicks is not sufficient to justify his inclusion, in my opinion.

Carl Veart, a striker masquerading as an attacking midfielder, has certainly been impressive at times this season, but can he do the job as effectively as Fernando Rech could? My memories of Rech's early days in the NSL, at the Brisbane Strikers, are all of him providing the powering runs and clever through-balls from midfield rather than striving manfully at the pointy end as he is currently doing.

Adelaide have an enviable array of talented wingers, a potentially excellent strikeforce, and a capable if sometimes guileless defence. But they are suffering from a hollow core at present.

spot on mike!

myself and many other adelaide supporters have been able to see this since the start of the season, yet aloisi and veart (when playing in midfield) are still lauded by the media as 'veterans turning back the clock showing up the young players'.

kossies insistance on accomodating aloisi and veart in every formation played and playing other players out of position is costing us a top 2 position.
Great account Mikey,

Kossie ain't got the balls to make the tough decisions when required..
sounds like you hit a nerve mike, from the web highlights looked like romario actually put in this time, but Kosmina is in denial. Can you explain this rampant playing of players out of position in the A-league? Is it some sort of Guus hangover (tactical adaptability with half the players needed to do it)?
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