Monday, October 29, 2007


The Injury Marquee - update

Contrasting fortunes for the two new faux-marquee players on show in yesterday's entertaining "Hawkesbury derby".

John Aloisi looked fit and up for the challenge, but he struggled to make an impact. This was partly due to the stern marking of Tony Popovic (having far and away his best game for Sydney FC so far), but the lack of service from the Mariners' midfield was palpable. I still feel that Tom Pondeljak might be better employed in a more central role, and it's a pity that such a positive, driving midfielder as Greg Owens has been forced by the decimation of the Mariners' squad to operate at right-back. In the second half, he showed with a few cutting upfield runs just what he is capable of providing in an attacking sense.

Aloisi, in fact, dropped back quite deep into midfield himself at times (especially in the first half), but failed to energise the team from there.

Michael Bridges looked relaxed, eager and confident. It was good to see a Sydney FC striker engage in some genuinely intelligent movement off the ball, which helped to open up space for the other attackers, notably Alex Brosque and Steve Corica. These latter two, incidentally, set off on plenty of shrewd runs of their own in the first half; Alex Brosque's wonderfully adroit diagonal sprint into the middle for Sydney's second goal was a classic of the genre.

Bridges held the ball up well, too, and delivered some clever through-balls at times, although occasionally he seemed to be trying a little too hard with the latter. Perhaps the best aspect of Bridges' play was that he genuinely appeared to be enjoying himself, unlike some of the other high-profile A-League acquisitions this season (Mario Jardel has gone through each of his ineffective cameos wearing a severely pained expression).

The talk of a Sydney FC revival, of course, is a little premature. There are some parallels with their first (official) game under Branko Culina, the stirring 2-1 win over Shanghai Shenhua, in which Sydney were, in truth, excellent in the first half and mediocre in the second. Shades, too, of Gary van Egmond's first game in charge of Newcastle last season, when he (like Kosmina yesterday) was able to call upon a versatile frontman who had been unavailable in previous games.

Yet it was a good beginning, and Kosmina certainly has an impressive record in the competition (if not quite as impressive as some have made out). The players certainly showed that they can lift their intensity level when the situation demands...although they, of course, are completely absolved from blame for Sydney's poor results thus far, don't you know. Without a Dutch or French coach (sorry, "technician") on board, what more can they be expected to do?

Told ya Mikey, lots of goals.

Good job it was my 'either' result and not my 'or' outcome eh?
indeed mike, premature to talking about a revival, but, not surprisingly, the performance of Bridges offers hope....

I liked the Syd shape.
...Good job it was my 'either' result and not my 'or' outcome eh?...

Indeed mate. Good to meet the wife and kids on Sunday...hope Adelaide's treating you OK.

...I liked the Syd shape...

Ditto. It's been said many times before, but Milligan at the centre of a back three certainly looks good for us.
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