Monday, August 25, 2008

Keep me searching for a goal of gold, but I'm growing old... Roar 1 v Adelaide 1

Adelaide. Once Australia's industrial capital. The hills and wineries on one side, on the other a working land, dry and hot. From this land has come an uncompromising survival instinct built into a football team. Win by thinking small. Freely admit you don't care about entertainment (see Friday's Courier Mail). The hard core fans come anyway. Small home ground, don't worry anything more than 10,000 makes you money. Grind them out. Be physical, recruit for tall and wide. Nothing fancy. 'Get working Karl' as Costanzo put it last night. Last night someone in the crowd shouted 'they're a pub side.'

For all our desire to be Dutch, it is the brute physical force of Adelaide that is the A-League's most successful club, into Asia.

The Roar on the other hand is all Dutch, to the boot-straps of its skillful new striker Van Dijk. And Brisbane is a crowded entertainment market with the Broncos still in full flight and the Lions playing their critical match of the season. Not somewhere that boring football can be tolerated.

Unfortunately, yesterday our Dutchness was pushed off the ball at every turn. The night before 10 yellow cards where handed out in a clean game - here Adelaide earned only 1. It was like watching the Roar of the first season - brutalised off the ball and then penalised for any retaliation. For Van Dijk it was to be one neat turn and shoot, one - it has to be said beautiful - flick to set-up Charlie Miller's goal. Two strikes low and hard next to the keeper on the left neither looked like going in (McKay also had a one-on-one with the keeper). But by the 80th he was done, out jumped, bullied and bruised by Adelaide, there wasn't much left. Even in the first half the much stronger Miller had to switch places with him in an effort to bring his skills into the game. He needs to 'get working' - bench pressing 200kgs. Like Reinaldo did.

In contrast, Reinaldo showed us what he could do as a right winger. Out running the sluggish Adelaide defence - even when they had a 10 metre head start. Before half time Frank Farina had made his mind to through Reinaldo and Zullo on, playing at home, perhaps he could hear his own words coming back at him (the 'booed off the park' jibe at Wellington the week before). From the get-go Reinaldo made the difference. And Miller was the best on the park and SUPER FIT thanks. Reinaldo needs to start with him next week. Perhaps Van Dijk will be a good surprise attack from half time when the defence has had its brutality knocked out of it?

The first 15 minutes of the second half was the Roar at its best. This juxtaposed with the classic misses of the first half - Van Dijk, Smits, McKay, and even Miller acknowledged the sitter he missed. The small crowd were talking about the curse of Land Park - my son pointed out 'we score up that end, we usually run that way first', he was soon right. By the late seventy minutes, something new happened, a large part of the Roar was 'done', not Miller, Tiatto or the injured Moore, but the work horses Murdocca (flu), McKay (seemed to hurt his arm badly) and particularly Van Dijk seemed to stop running. Tiatto pushed up field to try to force the issue.

But Adelaide had come looking for a draw. They played for that. Even when the Roar engine faulted they offered not much in attack.

Oh and one more thing we learned, Cristiano is diver. We don't need that type of Brazilian thanks. Having said that, the penalty was legitimate, just after that he got the idea that all he had to do was fall over. He earned himself a special place at Lang Park.

One more thing, the talking point could be whether Eugene Galekovic walked the ball out of the box - he had to turn and hold it in front of him - it looked out of the box to me. Which as Danny V of CCM knows is a straight red, but Eugene got away with it.


Ed Vegas said...

God, what a familiar feeling!Thought they played super football early in the second half. What are you thoughts on Dodd?

Oli said...

From the other side of the fence i don't disagree, we played ugly football this week and were lucky to come away with a draw and cristiano seems to be a diver and it'll be as welcome at hindmarsh as it was at suncorp, but i'll disagree we play pub football.

On our game we play decent, structured and technical football. However, we have a new side, we started with 6 players who didn't line up last season (including Og) and we're missing our starting AM who centers the team on the park.

We've learnt to play defensive football in Asia, because that's what it's taken to get there, but I think once our side gels a little more you'll start to see some more attractive football, right now, i'm just happy with 4 points from 2 games.

Anonymous said...

hmmm, here`s my two cents on what i saw ...

AU looked very good ... for the minute prior to their penalty goal. jonas salley came on and did a job. au will want to put him back in the starting lineup quick smart.

after the goal, reinaldo made some great touches, and some bad choices in the final third. guess that is why he is polarising. some love him, some hate him. would have liked to have seen him down the middle, giving van dyk a hand...

charlie miller must be an optimist. those bicycle kicks were funny as hell. great pick up though. a football player. am worried that if frank tries to play him for 90 every week he`s gonna break down. he`s not fit, and he`s not young ... 40 - 60 minutes a week sounds rightish.

matt mackay ... its great you work so hard. but how about some finishing while your`e at it?

frank has done some great work with the roar, but his tactical flexibility is questionable. the switch after the break was a good move. but where was the (much needed imho) tactical change after AU brought on salley and mirrored the roar`s shape?

on current form zullo probably doesn`t deserve a start. do you start him hoping that something clicks? dunno. maybe not.


john said...

Ed - I actually thought Dodd had had a good half (he was subbed), until I saw the pen replay. He missed the tackle and failed to cover Moore. My view is that Frank is blooding some of the 'reserve players' (Dodd, Smits, Griffin & Zullo) and holding up others (Kruse, Cernak - missed his preseason chance through injury - Oar, Nichols and Minniecon - last 4 I think now touring Vietman with U20s). The 'hold-ups' would be to leave room for surprises. The blooded ones may also be needed if we have injuries. Interesting that the new u20 stars across the a-league all seem to be in defence - ours is DeVere - who surprisingly also seemed to go on the Australian u20 bus.

john said...

Oli - Thanks for posting.

You make good points. The slate was actually 'come on Roar they aren't even a good pub side.' I took a bit of license there.

I don't agree that Adelaide learnt to play defensive for Asia. I have a quote of Kosmina admitting it when he played up here is season 2.

Anyway, I would be happy with 4 points as well. But happier if we were getting at least our breakeven crowd of 15 to 16,000. This motivated the post. Gridiron has a better salary cap system in which revenues are shared as well. And the US MLS has the central body controlling all player purchases. Either would change the dynamics so that smaller clubs don't have the luxury of ignoring entertainment values.

I don't recall seeing an Adelaide fan on a blog comment before. But maybe I don't get out enough.

john said...

Clayton - is the net commentary team the Fox team? I am guessing it must be.

I favour Kruse over Zullo. Last season teams quickly worked out his game. I also thought that Minniecon could be our best player. 18 to 23 are the critical development years.

I was surprised that Matt Simon went to China for the U23s. He never impressed me much. But I must be looking the wong way.

Ed Vegas said...

John, Dodd is just misplaced... he should be dragging plough somwhere ;)

As for the other kids I cant wait to see Taj again and Robbie. I know what you mean about Zullo, but now that teams have worked him out they devote plenty of defensive resources to him leaving space for the others.

Oli, do you know any good AU fan blogs?

Anonymous said...

yup, its the fox sports presenters.

robbie slater and mike cockerill, or simon hill and someone else. ..