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Farina has hinted at the possibility of deploying Charlie Miller at the point of a midfield diamond in the new season.
Seo Moore Josh M Packer
Plan B: When more craft and build up is required
Seo Moore Josh M Packer
Smits Van D
Farina tried this 442 diamond formation at the start of last season without much success. Things could be different this season with the signing of Miller. This formation suffered at the start of last season with Massimo Murdocca injured the Roar lacked a player with the energy to play on the right side of a underpopulated midfield. While Reinaldo worked hard and held the ball up, Roar struggled to find a second striker to support him with Milicic and Lynch hopelessly out of form. Marcinho was still acclimatising and was not yet as effective as he was in the run in to the finals.
The new personnel may not look much stronger on paper than last season's squad, but with the signing of Miller they may prove more versatile and more effective. (god I hope so!!)
A drum belting, bikini clad, booty shaking festival atmosphere pervaded Lang Park as a clearly football starved Brisbane crowd gathered in anticipation to watch the much vaunted samba boys take on our local plodders… Frank Farina had warned that the South American kids would be skilful and tricky but that the roar would pressure them, cut down there time on the ball and deny them space – sounded like Bolton preparing for a visit to the Camp Nou.
In the end it was all a bit of a fizzer. There were plenty of skills on display – all from the local lads in orange (bizarrely mostly from Danny Tiatto). The visitors barely touched the ball in the first half, let alone executed any tricks. The Roar flowed. Tiatto jinked, Massy twisted, Zullo beat his man, Smits won everything in the air, Van Dijk turned and riffled shots at will, Seo worked up and down the right flank and Moore sprayed pinpoint accurate passes all over the park.
The Brazilians desperately lumped balls forward only for their young strikers to be outpaced by Craig Moore.
For all the talk before this game, the idea that the Roar would be looking to sign one or two of these youngsters is laughable. None impressed and I hope that the Queensland public, 13,000 of whom turned out, don't feel a bit let down by the clearly second rate opposition.
Although the new A-League season will no doubt present a sterner test than the samba kids, the new signings looked good.
Smits' toughness impressed me and belied his tender age and slight frame. While he does not look to have the touch or powerful shot of Van Dijk, he was brave, worked hard and took his goal chance when it came. I wont be surprised if he earns himself a few starts this season particularly against side who will sit back and deny our pacey little folk space to get behind the defence.
Van Dijk himself has clearly got some pedigree, strong on the ball with vicious strike on him. The ironic shouts of "where's Mezenga?" after a third rocket had soared over the crossbar rang a little hollow as the Brazilians clearly struggled to contatin the big (Flying?? surely not) Dutchman.
Luke DeVere looked the part despite the odd positional lapse and what better man but Moore to have at your side while learning the trade?
Tommy Oar looked like a boy playing a man’s game and I hope that the media have not put too much pressure on him with all this “new Harry Kewel” rubbish. He has clearly been signed to keep the Gold Coast local out of the grasp of the new franchise (Boo Hiss -cant wait to have a derby!).
Then we get to Miller. A quick look through his CV showed that the Rangers days had long since passed and nothing much of note had followed. The portly figure in the photos and the highly suspect taste in facial hair did not inspire much hope. Matt Mackay candidly admitted after the game that Miller was wearing a specially made shirt to accommodate his girth.
The Miller’s first touch after being bought on was so silky we nearly stopped shouting “who ate all the pies”. A chant which, perhaps unsurprisingly, my Brazilian associate was unfamiliar with and found, more surprisingly, absolutely hilarious – resulting renditions of such gusto and enthusiasm that the vaguely annoyed looking Scotsman could be left in no doubt of the first impression he was making.
Miller's second touch was a Zizou style turn to create space followed by an intelligent pass. His influence grew the longer he was on the pitch and his performance demonstrate intelligence, skill, flair and an absolute killer volley. Miller topped it all off by providing the last goal in a performance which drained most of my scepticism away.
Unfortunately we had heckled him so much about his portly proportions before he got on the pitch that he did not seem that keen to give us wave after… So Charlie… if you’re reading this – you’re actually pretty good and it would be lovely if you would stay in Brisbane… the weather is warm, the locals are friendly… and the pies are plentiful J
Of course there will be doubts about Miller's fitness and whether that style of playmaker fits with the Roar’s fast paced brand of total football. For me he gives us another way to goal – a plan “B” something which we have lacked in previous seasons. When the flying wingers and mobile midfield are just not getting the result, the option of bringing on a genuine “number 10” would allow the team to shift in shape and style to unlock the opposition defence.
Given his performance on the weekend we hope he signes and gets fit because if he can keep that form up all season it will sure be fun to watch.
Finally we find what happens when we win at at home! Predictably, we go to the pub.
Yay Zullu! Yay Kruse! Two brilliant goals. Zullu played well all night, the most threatening attacking player and tackled hard and ran all night.
Sorry to Reinaldo for placing the hex on him by praising him last week. He really was rubbish last night. rubbish.
In fact the team as whole played like rubbish last night, and let in the mandatory stupid goal. It is just lucky that Wellington were appalling.
Still good on them for having a win and giving us something to cheer about. I'll let Hoops to the analysis later.... my head hurts.
Where do we start. QLD were once again brilliant and rubbish all at once. We dominated Sydney FC from the kick off, but never really looked like scoring.
To be fair, the ball actually has to be in the back of the net before I get exited these days. So accustom am I to the plethora of near misses that typify the Lang Park experience, Marcinho’s perfect cross for Reindaldo’s perfect header to the top corner barely distracted me from my beer. It was never going in… they never do.
As usual, as the game wore on Queensland continued to dominate without scoring and that familiar feeling of inevitability grew to the point that Patrick’s second half goal came as no surprise. That familiar hush. The crowd silenced... again. Secretly we all knew it was coming. Secretly we would not know what to do with ourselves if we won at home… go to the pub? Eat Cake? Who knows?
What have we done to deserve this curse? What strange voodoo has been cast over our beautiful stadium? Frankly talk of curses is only passing the buck. The buck has to stop somewhere (if only to have a piss between watering holes) and for now, it stops with Frank.
I love Sasha, he is a great defender. With due respect his versatility and excellence in the air, any team which is relying on him to be a striker is a team in deep crisis. The sight of Oggy stumbling around up front with all the touch, mobility and flair of a rhinoceros in gumboots, should have Frank Farina on the phone to Barbara Bennet (Surely any dismissal for deploying a lead footed defender as a striker is fair and reasonable??).
The only player who could be faulted on Saturday night was possibly Ante. Milicic seems to have lost his famous knack for being in the right place at the right time. With only 5 goals in all his time in Orange, some bench time looks to be in order.
Reinaldo will cop stick again for failing to put chances away, but at least he is getting into scoring positions. Just to underline how often he does – despite all those horrible misses – remarkably he is still leading the shots on target tally for the league this season with 11. His sheepish look in the photo next to that particular statistic becomes clear with a perusal of the goals column.
The whole team lifted when Massimo came on bringing with him pace, vision and his phenomenal work rate, proving that physical presence is not a prerequisite for effectiveness. Seo proved once again that he is wasted at right back. His experience, strength and quality are required in the middle of pitch. Danny T proved that while he is possibly Roar’s best player, he is no Seo when it comes to long range shooting, badly slicing several ill advised attempts.
I would start Reinaldo every game. His physical presence and never say die attitude boosts the team. Starting the big Brazilian up front alone would allow us to deploy Massimo and Zulu down the wings giving us some of the width that is lacking. Tiato, Seo and Matty would form a formidable central midfield.
The Hoops is a Frank Farina fan. Now I don’t know as much about the beautiful game as the Hoops does (spent half the game trying to decide if it was a 433 or 451 formation), but I’m pretty sure that it is not OK for a team representing a city with a populace of around 1.7 million folk to get beaten at home by a team from Gosford. Nor is it extremely encouraging that our boys are yet to take three points this season.
Last night I was mad. After the final whistle blew and the booing died down, all I could think was "Hey Farina - I did not spend all night sitting in the rain to watch you buggers lose to Gosford!"
Last night we scurried back up the hill in the rain cursing Reinaldo’s shooting boots, our inability to maintain possession for more than two passes, Nick Mrdja’s diving, the ref… the linesmen, Frank Farina, Andre Gumprecht’s ugly mug, the ref again.
Today I have calmed down. I remember that Reinaldo played with passion and never gave up, that Matty and Massy worked hard all night, that Tiatto looked a class above, the way we cheered as Marcinho made the Mariner’s defence look stupid (before drilling his shot wide... again), perhaps most importantly, I remember that the Manager cant actually put the ball in the back of the net.
Finishing once again seemed to be the Roar’s greatest problem. This has been an issue for two and a bit seasons now. It does not seem to matter who is on the park or who the manager is. QLD can’t score at home. Having said that Reinaldo, who was the player most guilty of spurning opportunities was also our best attacker. He may play like a donkey, but it must be a donkey with the heart of Pharlap.
Heres the thing, Frank may not be able to put the ball in the back of the net, but when no one else will, it is his problem. Most forums and media articles today have focused on the Roars almost complete domination of the second half. Folks… dominating one half of a home game, after going behind, is not good enough.
There was an air of inevitability about the result as the Mariners dominated early only to be denied by three courageous saves from Liam Reddy (yeh, you read it right, I was praising Steady Reddy. Maybe he was motived by me chanting "there’s only one Tommy Willis" at him for the entire first half). The Mariners out smarted us, keeping possession well and launching several frightening counter attacks in the opening twenty minutes. No doubting Mc’Kinna is an excellent tactician. I would hate to think that the Roar are suffering from the same tactical naivety that the Socceroos suffered under Farina.
Another worrying aspect of the match was the appalling attendance. Sure the weather was not pleasant but nobody drowned, nobody melted having discovered rather too late they were made entirely of sugar. Only 8,815 fans dribbled into the stadium. Lang Park does not come cheap. We can only conclude the match represents a massive financial loss for the club.
Following on from the rather disappointing opening night’s crowd of 17,000, this has to be a concern for the club. With this in mind, how did the players thank those who braved the rain to cheer them on, suffering cold wind, wet chips, soaked arses and appalling football?
Did the captain lead them around the ground to thank each stand as was the norm under Chad Gibson? No. Craig Moore simply made a half turn to the East, clapped his hands above his head once or twice and walked off. We don’t care who you are Craig, don’t you dare think its ok to pull on the Roar jersey, lose a game you should have won, then wander of the field without paying respect to the soaking fans who pay your wages.
Oh, and it wont matter a fig that you are a more highly rated player than Gibson until we start winning games at home.
On what looked set to be a gloomy rain soaked game, the heavens stayed closed as the Qld roar stormed the Brisbane cauldron for their opening round of the 2007 A-league season. With an eager crowd of almost 17,000 prepared to brave the elements, the roar brought forth a dominant attacking display right from the first blow of the whistle.
The roar fielding a predominant 4-4-2 style formation, repetitively attacked the Adelaide goal early on without any success. The Roar's exciting new Brazilian signing Marcinho almost scored on debut, with what seemed to be an open header at the edge of the 6 yard box just grazing wide. Roar continued to dominate the play early on especially through the dominant work load of both Massimo Murdocha and Marcinho through the middle of the park.
Adelaide in turn played a tightly formed if lack luster game (Ed: Boring, Boring Adelaide). Only some sloppy defending by the experienced roar defence allowed Adelaide's Nathan Burns to squeeze off a firing shot to take the early lead.
However Roar drew even just prior to half time through midfielder Matt McKay, who's drilled shot deflected off an Adelaide defender and steered itself into the corner of the goal, leaving the Adelaide keeper helpless (Ed: dodgy Keeper!).
With the halftime score line at 1-1, the roar re-entered the field for the second half looking to make an early breakthrough and gain the lead. This however proved not to be, as the roar defence once again proved fallible, leaking another goal in the opening minute of the second half.
Poor man marking by the Qld defence allowed the Adelaide striker to sneak through and post a diving header past roar keeper Liam Reddy, caught flat footed in the mud on his goal line. (Ed: there's only one Tommy Willis...)
Things looked to be heading from bad to worse for the roar as their newly appointed captain Craig Moore, was sent from the field with his second "bookable" offence in the 68th minute. Moore appeared to have tackled Nathan Burns cleanly by contacting the ball first, however Referee Ben Williams saw it differently and showed Moore his second yellow card, resulting in the appearance of the red.
Moore erupted and approached the Adelaide striker Burns to let him know how he felt about the decision.
Subsiquently were reduced to 10 men, Roar continued to battle strongly, with Reinaldo dropping to a slightly more defensive role. New substitutions with fresh legs proved useful to the roar comeback with youngster Michael Zulo proving to be a very handy addition replacing the exhausted Murdocha. Roar continued to fight towards goal when finally in the 76th minute, roar giant Sasha Ognenovski tied the score with a powerful header.
Roar continued to search for goals to the final whistle as they in total amassed 27 attempts on goal compared to Adelaide's 10.
The final score line of 2 -2 was quite indicative of the game and Queensland will be happy enough with the 1 point result. The roar executed an abundance of attacking plays largely lead by the vision and tactical skill of Marcinho.
Massimo Murdocha continued his exellent form from last season, with a brilliant display of athleticism and skill, working hand in hand with Marchinho and Matt Mckay to form a very strong midfield.
The wise and highly experienced defensive line of the roar proved dominant and patient par for their two notable lapses in concentration leading to the 2 Adelaide goals.
Danny Tiatto was a stand out at left wing back and the 34year old A-league rookie was my personal choice for man of the match. His presence was dominant and hard yet skilful and ever present, rarely being caught out of place.
The only negative to an overall well rounded performance by the Roar would have to be the poor execution by the Qld strikers. Starting attackers Ante Milicic and Reinaldo squandered many opportunities as did Simon Lynch when introduced. The upside however, is that many a chance was created and unlike previous seasons, the strike force of roar seemed goal hungry and willing to take shot opportunities.
If the first game of the season is anything to go by, then the 2007 season definitely looks promising for the new look Queensland Roar.
- The Hoops