Sunday, September 23, 2007
Big Roar, No Bite
For the second time in three weeks, Queensland have suffered a home loss in a game which they largely dominated. On both occasions, the opposing goalkeeper has been in outstanding form, but the problems clearly lie a little deeper than that.
There seems to be a curse over Suncorp Stadium, which robs the home side's strikers of their acumen as soon as they step onto the pitch. Ante Milicic's sharp decline since he left Newcastle has been painful to watch; once probably the best finisher in the local game along with Damian Mori, he has looked woefully inadequate this season (as he did for much of last year as well). Worst of all, he seems to have lost the positional sense which served him so well in his NSL days. He rarely gets into a position to score with Queensland.
Simon Lynch began last season looking highly promising. Ever since then he has been a cipher, and usually only serves to take the wind out of his own team's sails in attack.
The most apt comment on Queensland's problems up front was the fact that Farina brought on Sasa Ognenovski - a central defender - as a makeshift striker in the final stages last night. And Ognenovski nearly scored within a minute!
Farina must feel the need to alter his malfunctioning front pairing, but what options are there? He has used Reinaldo on the right flank recently, and it seems to me quite a good deployment of the big Brazilian; finishing has never been his strong point, although, in fairness, he would have scored last night but for a stupendous reflex save from Clint Bolton.
The likes of Tahj Minniecon and Mitch Nichols, two of the youth group that Farina has recruited, may have something to offer, but it would be galling for Farina to have to rely on such inexperience for goals. Then again, the names Djite and Burns come to mind...
What makes Queensland's impotence up front frustrating is that they have been playing some of the best football of the competition otherwise. Matt McKay continues to shine in midfield, Danny Tiatto is settling into the holding role surprisingly well, and the team as a whole moves off the ball better than perhaps any other side in the competition, often allowing their attacking moves to flow pleasingly. They just need the bite up front to match the bark...or the roar.
On the flipside, congratulations to Sydney FC for achieving their first win of the season, in decidedly difficult circumstances. It wasn't pretty, but it bespoke real determination and fighting spirit. And the goal was an absolute peach.
Sydney can't play. They're embarassing to watch. They fall over, there was air kicks, they lose possession within a touch.
But they do have an excellent goalkeeper, and Queensland can't score.
Se la vi.
We played pretty ugly last night, but even the great teams do that now and then, when they just need a result after a bad patch.