Tuesday, October 05, 2010


When You're Not

How do you know that things just aren't going your way in football?

Well, perhaps when you've been dominating most of the second half at 1-1, and then you suddenly concede a totally unexpected winner in added time. Said winner is scored by a former player of the club, and laid on by a clumsy makeshift striker whose main contribution to the game for the preceding ten minutes has been providing welcome mirth for the fans.

I am referring, of course, to Sydney FC against Adelaide last night. When things are running against you, such things can happen...even when the opposition are (temporarily) missing their three best attacking players.

Nevertheless, you do make your own luck to some extent, and in this respect Vitezslav Lavicka was found wanting once more. It remains a mystery to me why his benches tend to be so defensively-skewed, given Sydney's problems in front of goal (particularly late in the game); this time, two central defenders again, plus the habitually ineffective Brendan Gan.

Hirofuni Moriyasu was apparently suffering from cramp when Gan replaced him last night; if that was not the case, then the substitution was inexplicable, since the Japanese midfielder was having easily his best game for Sydney FC so far. And this time it took until nearly full-time for Lavicka to make another change.

Tactically, too, there are question marks over the team at the moment. Mark Bridge looks thoroughly unsuited to his three-quarter role, and showed an annoying tendency to lay the ball off instead of pulling the trigger last night. If he were to start in a genuine three-man attack along with Alex Brosque and the useful Bruno Cazarine, perhaps he would evince a little more confidence. The diamond 4-4-2 served Sydney very well in 2009/10, but without a genuine No.10 it looks decidedly awkward.

Although there were some positive signs from the home side last night, particularly some of the interplay between Brosque and Cazarine, it looks like Nick Carle will need to be in the form of his life to turn things around on his return.

I watched this and the 1-1 draw with NQ. As I have said, I think the FFA have over-invested in Adelaide (probably as it expected to sell it late last season), how can a team without an investor afford van Dijk, Flores and Leckie. If all 3 had not played at all last night I think Sydney would have had the head space to win. Adelaide winning the comp isn't going to help the A-League that much. Sydney collapsing, again, after winning isn't helping either. Look to the way the AFL manipulates its competition front runners - and the press turns a blind eye (except maybe the Australian). FFA propping up Adelaide isn't helping.

On the other hand, NN Fury is vital to the future of Australian soccer in Asia - heat and humidity training. How good would they look with van Dijk and Flores?
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