Sunday, August 09, 2009


In Sydney's Defence - update

It's always nice to start a season with a win, and Sydney FC hadn't done this since 2006/07. But although Vitezslav Lavicka can be satisfied with some of Sydney's attacking play against North Queensland, the defensive concerns remain.

When Kofi Danning scored that delightful second goal, the game looked all but over. The fact that the Fury hauled themselves back into the match had much to do with the same old problem which has bedevilled Sydney for so long: the lack of a decent fullback.

Byun Sung-Hwan remains a fairly unimpressive figure. True, he was given little help on the left last night by a listless Brendan Gan, but once North Queensland's Dyron Daal had shifted to the right midway through the first half, Byun looked incapable of holding the fort.

On the other flank, Shannon Cole proved for the umpteenth time that he is merely employing his well-known acting skills in playing right-back. He is simply not a natural defender, as Jason Spagnuolo convincingly demonstrated.

In my view, what actually saved Sydney's bacon was Ian Ferguson's strange use of his bench. Just when Daal was really beginning to click with the right-back Kajiro Kaimoto, he was substituted for David Williams, who took a good ten minutes to get into the rhythm of the game (as substitutes often do).

Then, just after Spagnuolo had again tormented Cole on the left, the former Adelaide man made way...for the largely inoffensive James Robinson. Not surprisingly, the initiative, wich had been with the home side for much of the second half, shifted back to Sydney.

The new acquisition Stephan Keller did well in the air, stifling Robbie Fowler in that department, but his constant floated long balls suggested that he doesn't exactly back himself with the ball at his feet. Lastly, Simon Colosimo did well, as expected; how badly Sydney need him to stay fit in 2009/10.

Congratulations to the other new side, incidentally, on winning their opener impressively last night. The second goal was a model of composure and precision in a 3 v. 2 situation; if the attacking trio of Joel Porter, Shane Smeltz and Jason Culina can stay fit, some A-League defences are in for a torrid time this season.

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