Sunday, 5 August 2007

Phoenix rise to down Victory

A cracking strike from Brazilian striker Daniel Cortes in the 86th minute saw the Wellington Pheonix down the Melbourne Victory 2-1 during a rain soaked night in front of 4100 people at Olympic Park and I was one of them. While too much can't be read into this performance by the Victory there are a few concerns going into the start of the new season. I think many of them are due to players not gelling together yet against quality opponents. With the inclusion of Keenan, Milicevic, Hernandez, Kemp, Leandro Love, Kaz Patafta and Berger into the squad it will take them a while to learn the ins and outs of the team. Positives for the team were the performances of both Kemp and Keenan, who both made a number of searching runs on the respective wings. They give good width to the team, something that was lacking in the team last year. The midfield of Brebner, Muscat and Hernandez struggled at times both in the conditions and against their opponents and Thompson looked short of game time. The game also saw the debut of the latest signing, Leandro Love, who made his debut in the 80th minute to as much applause as a crowd of 4000 can generate. The night also saw the last appearance of Adrian Leijer (although not as a player) as his move to Fulham on a three year deal was confirmed.

Credit must be given to the team from Wellington, who played well in the conditions. They look like a team made up of big strong players and they remind me a little of Central Coast teams of the past two seasons and match winner, Daniel Cortes looks like a good prospect. Former Adelaide skipper and now Wellington skipper, Ross Aloisi was back at his worst, constantly harassing Hernandez (who was unlucky not to see a few more fouls go his way) when he was on the ball, with a lot of shirt tugging and ankle tapping going on. Hopefully this kind of football is slowly stamped out of the A-League game.

Comment must be also made on the playing strip of the Wellington Phoenix. It is an absolute shocker, being totally black against for a splash of yellow across the upper chest and shoulders. There has been no imagination with this strip and some others within the A-League. It made be something to do with Reebok, not known for their great shirt design, being responsible for the shirts of all teams. I think the Wellington shirt would look much better as a black and yellow striped shirt.


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