Friday, January 05, 2007

 

The Mighty Mullet

There are plenty of reasons for John Kosmina to be displeased after last night's surprise loss; Nathan Burns' erstwhile coolness and precision in front of goal now seem to have deserted him, some of Adelaide's defensive problems have resurfaced, and the talismanic Greg Owens is by no means a certainty to be fit for the crucial encounter with Sydney FC next week.

If there is a silver lining for Kosmina, it is surely that Jason Spagnuolo continues to be probably the most influential midfielder in the competition.

The "flying mullet", as he has been christened by certain Adelaide United fans, has undoubtedly been the revelation of the season.

A two-footed winger with good pace, excellent technique and sound footballing judgement, he has been at the heart of much of Adelaide's better play in 2006/07. Romario can thank Spagnuolo for saving him the ignominy of leaving the A-League without a goal, since his messy tap-in against Newcastle was the result of a sustained, incisive run from the young winger.

I first saw Spagnuolo in Adelaide's pre-season game against Sydney in Wollongong, and immediately he looked the part. Playing an important role in Adelaide's opening goal, he then provided the whipping corner that allowed Kristian Rees to head home Adelaide's winner.

And here we come to a particularly impressive aspect of Spagnuolo's play: his delivery from set-pieces.

The Socceroos patently lack a reliable taker of corners and free kicks at the moment. Mark Bresciano has never been quite precise enough, Stan Lazaridis is gone, and Josip Skoko cannot now be considered a first-teamer.

Spagnuolo's delivery from corners is not always the best (significantly, he is far more dangerous delivering inswingers from the left rather than floaters from the right), but occasionally he truly "hits the spot", and always poses danger when he does so. Although Adelaide inexplicably place so much faith in Ross Aloisi's outside-of-the-foot daisy-cutters (not one of which has looked remotely effective in months) when a free kick is awarded, Spagnuolo provides a good alternative in this department as well.

Last night, the moment that summed up Spagnuolo's form this season for me was his teeing-up of Carl Veart for a thumping shot that flew just over the bar, late in the first half. A fizzing, awkward long ball was played up from the back, but Spagnuolo managed to take the pace off it, and position it perfectly for his onrushing team-mate - all in the one touch.

A sign of a player in top form. From an Olyroo and Socceroo point of view, long may it continue.

Comments:
Sadly, he won't be able to play for the current Olyroos as he was born in 1984.

Still a young enough talent though to be a Socceroo prospect. The more I think about it, the more I would be in favour of him being called up at some stage. We really do lack depth on the wings at the moment, particularly in terms of options for the left wing.
 
Mike im an mvfc fan who loves your blog. I ocasionally read sfcu.com.au, what is your username there?
 
...Mike im an mvfc fan who loves your blog. I ocasionally read sfcu.com.au, what is your username there?...

Hi, thanks for the interest!

On SFCU I'm mikey.
 
...Sadly, he won't be able to play for the current Olyroos as he was born in 1984....

Ah, good point.

Would he be able to play in the qualifiers though? I thought the go was that you had to be under 23 at 1/1/??, whatever year the tournament/match was being played in. Or is it 1/1/08 as being the Olympic year, applicable to the qualifiers as well?
 
The Olyroos have a "policy" of sorts of only picking players who will be available for their next major tournament - TFM does not qualify in that respect.

Played against him for open school comps, a bit cocky but always knew he was gonna be good. Still very very surprising to see him THIS good.
 
Good isn't he? With Carney's lack of form this year, Dilevski not performing in Queensland and Victory's wide players being solid rather than outstanding as well Bertos fading along with the Glory's form, I'd say he's the best winger in the comp.
 
...The Olyroos have a "policy" of sorts of only picking players who will be available for their next major tournament - TFM does not qualify in that respect....

Will be quite interesting to see what Baan does with the Olyroos.

Will he treat it mainly as development?

IMO most of the "first world" football countries treat the Olympic tournament as a bit of a sideshow, given that it's a silly compromise (the three overage players FFS) in any case. But it still represents good competitive practice for a core of players who might be stepping up to the NT soon.
 
I just hope Baan doesn't pick the three over agers.
 
as it last week that Steve Corica was player of the year?
 
...as it last week that Steve Corica was player of the year?...

That was 2006 (last season and this season).

If I had to pick a player of the 06/07 season so far it'd probably be Muscat.
 
surely Fred is the most influential midfielder granted spagnuolo looks promising as broxham did this evening
 
great article mikey, he's been one of the most consistent players at the club this season.
 
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