Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Romario Experiment - Half Time

The great experiment of bringing over one of the greatest ever players to play in the A-League is now half way through. Romario has worn his No. 11 Adelaide United shirt twice, against Mariners and Victory, has had less than a score of chances and netted none of them. He's got two games left for the Reds, today against NZ and next friday against Newcastle.

The greatest shame isn't that he hasn't managed to get on the scoresheet in his two games. Whenever he actually got a ball to his feet he looked like scoring, only to be stopped by great defending in both games. The worst thing has been the way Kossie and the team have responded to having him in the team. At 5"6' he's amongst the shorter of players in the HAL, and yet we have been consistently failing to play the ball to his head, opting for long crosses which would be lucky to muss his hair.

Then there is the matter of pace. Romario was never going to be the hardest worker on the pitch. In his first game it took him 10 minutes to leave the centre circle. But he's showed in both games that he has intense pace over short distances whilst in the box with balls being played to his feet. Our tactical answer to having him in the team has been at best disruptive and at worst destructive. Aloisi and Veart in midfield haven't worked all year when played like that. Burns is a striker, quick and agile and able to get around players. He is not an experienced crosser of the ball. Yet last week he filled Spagnolo's spot on the right wing, whilst Fernando accompanied the great one up front. So we had to quick guys on the outside, neither of whom are great crossers, and three in the middle who work their arses off, yet have the pace of me. Even worse, every time we got the ball we could not play to his feet. We either creamed it over, or gave posession away. Not good enough.

If he's gong to score against anyone, it will be NZ today. We can only hope it's the case, as it would be a shame for hom to take away memories of Australia that didn't involve scoring in that Red Shirt.

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