Saturday, November 17, 2007
The Hare and the Fox - update
The hare, Michael Zullo, finally found the crossing range to match his pace towards the end of last week's game against Wellington, and he delivered a beautiful ball into the box for Marcinho to score Queensland's third. He seems to have recovered his confidence after the "setback" against Newcastle.
But it is the fox, Robbie Kruse, who has really impressed. Wonderfully incisive against the Phoenix, when he slid a sublime through-ball to Matt McKay in the lead-up to the second goal and nearly scored a stunner himself with an outside-of-the-foot volley from a Zullo cross, his goal in last night's game was a very, very fine effort. Close control took him past two defenders, and the finish was the sort that one would expect from a far more experienced player.
One of the most pleasing aspects of Kruse's play is that he has that uncanny ability, which few players possess, to draw fouls with monotonous regularity. It was a shame, in fact, that Queensland made so little of the many set-pieces that they received as a result of Kruse's acumen in this regard.
I should add, however, that Kruse has also shown that he's not averse to making the most of the poor tackles he endures. Perhaps something for Frank Farina to have a word to him about.
The prowess of the two young revelations has, in fact, served to paper over some cracks in the Queensland side that have appeared in the absence of Danny Tiatto. Stuart McLaren has looked far from assured in the midfield anchor role (I still feel that Hyuk-Su Seo would be the best option in that position). Massimo Murdocca has drifted out of form. Marcinho, although he has clearly gained confidence from his recent goals, continues to frustrate in many ways, not least with his first touches.
In truth, Queensland lost the thread of last night's game around the twenty-five minute mark, as indeed they did against Wellington, when the dismissal of Ahmad Elrich was an absolute godsend for them. Against Melbourne, they were ultimately lucky that Danny Allsopp made a mess of two point-blank chances that he surely would have buried last season.
I take partial issue to the following: Kruse has also shown that he's not averse to making the most of the poor tackles he endures.
Firstly, on two occasions I noted Kruse have his ankle tapped and he recovered and kept running - so his instinct is not simply to fall.
Secondly, there were several times he was brought down for no free kick. Indeed, this young guy is so clever versus the defenses the A-League has on offer that if he was never fouled he would be scoring goal after goal.
I agree that often when Kruse is fouled he makes sure it looks like he was fouled, but I can't see that he has much choice. It's an ungainly dance between the refs (trying to balance between protecting legitimate play and maintaining a flowing game), frustrated defenders, and a highly effective Fox, with no clear rules. If you were Kruse, wouldn't you be making sure, if you could, that your creativity being cut off by being tripped was at least transferred into a free kick? I reckon I would. He's not Mother Theresa.
Moreso than Kruse I reckon, another consistently brilliant player, Seo, seems to bleed his opportunities. The man is built like a tank, and dances like a butterfly. Jacob and I just laugh when we see a striker trying to get past him. Watching someone trying to shoulder him off a ball is also highly amusing. But when he goes down 'hurt' we also laugh. That man couldn't be hurt if you ran over him with a train.