Friday, August 10, 2007
A-League Anticipation, Part 2
The South Australians’ Asian Champions League campaign was not quite the fizzer it was considered to be in many quarters; their group was probably more difficult than Sydney FC’s, and in the end they gave quite a creditable account of themselves. In threatening to make the next stage at the first attempt, however, their A-League colleagues from the harbour city rather upstaged Adelaide United.
Aurelio Vidmar is now in the manager’s seat following the departure of the combustible John Kosmina, and he has a very competitive squad at his disposal. Lucas Pantelis has returned from injury, and with Bobby Petta, Travis Dodd and Jason Spagnuolo still around, Adelaide will pose a considerable threat out wide this season.
Paul Agostino has finally returned home, as Adelaide’s marquee player; his best years are surely behind him, but it can only be beneficial for talented youngsters such as Nathan Burns and Bruce Djite to work alongside such a well-travelled striker. I have the feeling that Agostino may end up being surprised by the quality of some A-League defences, however.
The centre of the park has been stiffened with the arrival of Jonas Salley, who looked solid and resourceful last term for the New Zealand Knights (and even, very briefly, for Sydney FC). With two new central defenders at the club in Isyan Erdogan and Milan Susak (who has apparently been very impressive in the pre-season games), Angelo Costanzo may end up moving up into central midfield, where he is more than capable of operating.
There does seem to be a lacuna in the full-back positions. The Brazilian Cassio has been the toast of the pre-season, but, like most left-backs from Brazil, he apparently loves to attack; with an ageing Richie Alagich patrolling the other wing, Adelaide may end up being caught out on the flanks at times this season.
Kristian Sarkies should get more first-team action with Aurelio Vidmar’s side than he did at Melbourne Victory, now that both Fernando Rech and Carl Veart are gone. Although Sarkies comes with a reputation for inconsistency, he can be pleasingly effective when allowed to play his natural game. Adelaide’s width in attack should ensure that he will find sufficient space in which to operate…sometimes, at least.
Plenty of young talent and a good core of experience. Adelaide should expect to make the finals again in 2007/08.
Melbourne and Queensland also look to have some depth, and the Mariners might make up the top four if they have more luck with injuries this season. This season looks so competitive that the other four might well make the finals, rendering my opinions about as relevant as SBS. Sorry Les...
On the subject of Cassio, he did it again in the PSC Final - proving that he's apparently more than just a free kick expert. Two weeks in a row he's provided absolutely sublime crosses to set up goals, while his winner yesterday was just beautiful.
If he cops a few goals thru loose defending this season, who cares! I'd much prefer a Cassio/young Lazaridis who may be defensively, um, naive, as opposed to a defensive full back who NEVER overlaps. To be fair, Australia's relative lack of quality in the FB/WB positions over the last few years probably means that any decent player like Cassio stands out like a sore thumb, but I hope we see more of his ilk in future. We sorely miss the days when we had decent local wing-backs like Laza, Tiatto, Trajkovski, De Amicis et al.
Also, respect to Viddie for having the balls to clean out his squad and decide to make the tough calls. I have the impression he learned a lot from the ACL and wanted to inject some pace and mobility to the squad - hence the dropping of one dimensional defenders like Rees, Van Domelle and Goulding (who I thought was particularly poor skill wise for a wide defender).
They might look good on paper, but it depends on the quality of coaching really. Only time will tell if he's a good coach, but at least he's doing it his way and leaving no stone unturned.
Will indeed. I've actually been away for the last few days on another school camp (grabbing a precious half-hour of net time now), so I haven't checked the blogs recently. Look forward to reading your previews in more detail later.
FWIW, at the moment I'm picking Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and the Mariners to make the finals (not necessarily in that order). But with injuries, suspensions, international duty, boardroom wrangles and the rest of it, who knows.
I'm starting a podcast thing on my nearpost, also a doing a radio course so should improve my quality over the next few weeks:)
basically contacting all bloggers of A-League...should you ever be in Canberra and want to chat and do a podcast with me...just talking football
let me know
email from www.nearpost.blogspot.com cheers!