The Offside Trap – Round 3

Well the second round of the A-League is done and dusted and it delivered cracking goals, red cards, lost kits, childish humour and some really, really entertaining football!

Brisbane Roar v Melbourne victory – Friday night

Round 3 gets underway with Brisbane Roar hosting Melbourne Victory for the Jean Carlos Solórzano Trophy on Friday night. The Roar should refreshed and ready to go after having the bye in Week 2 to recover from PTSD (Perth Travel Stress Disorder). Going to Perth is tough, attempting to pinch a point against last year’s leading side is even tougher but Robbie Fowler’s brand new, low km Roar side managed to do both of those things in Round 1.

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Robbie Fowler wondering how many people will show up to his property seminar during the bye week

It appeared that the time differences in Australia played havoc with the Roar as it appeared for the first 45 minutes that they hadn’t arrived. Magically, the Brisbane side appear after half time, constantly putting pressure on the Perth back line and eventually breaking through with moments to spare. It was like watching an action movie where the bomb counts down to one second remaining and the hero stops the bomb except the game was slightly more exciting and less predictable and Roy O’Donovan is usually the villain, not the hero.

Melbourne Victory can best be described as an old jigsaw puzzle at the moment. Somehow all the bits are there but they just don’t seem to fit together yet. The navy blue side of Melbourne would be Kurzing after another poor performance on Friday night against Western Sydney. The were left to Roux some poor defending after Storm Roux and Lawrence Thomas got themselves into a tangle and let the Wanderers score into an empty net.

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Victory players and fans have been left scratching their heads as to why the poor start to the season.

This week the Victory need to Basha their heads together and say enough is enough and time to get into the winners column. Tim Hoogland and Robbie Kruse are still weeks away, Dobras and Poulsen haven’t set the world on fire as yet and Nabbout needs to stop looking for fouls and actually play the ball in.

All that aside, Brisbane will get the three points this Friday night and walk away with the Jean Carlos Solórzano Trophy with a 2-1 win at home.

Newcastle jets v Adelaide united – Saturday evening

The Nigel Boogaard Shield is up for grabs when Adelaide travel to Newcastle fresh off a massive FFA Cup win on Wednesday night.

Newcastle looked solid in their first hit out on Saturday night against the Central Coast Mariners. Decked out in an all black kit, no not the Rugby team (The Jets wish they were an All Black quality side), the Jets played some quality football in and were like a door to door salesperson, they kept knocking but Central Coast wouldn’t let them in.

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That “I’ve just made amends” feeling

The man from Panama, Abdiel Arroyo showed promise by getting in the right places but he was just half a step too slow at times and other times he might as well have had a zimmer frame but he will work his way into the league and could be a really good pickup for Newcastle. The highlight for Newcastle though was Ernie Merrick calling the Fox Football panel “useless dickheads” as per the tweet below. Please A-League, never change!

Adelaide are coming off a 2-1 defeat to Melbourne City and a midweek 4-0 FFA Cup Final win also against Melbourne City so they will be very happy to see a different opponent this weekend I bet.

Their A-League clash with Melbourne City showed us that with Jordan Elsey, the Adelaide defence is basically a submarine with a flyscreen door. That same defensive unit looked much more solid in the cup final last night and did really well to keep Melbourne City at bay. Will they have an FFA Cup hangover on Saturday evening in Newcastle?

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Adelaide will be hoping Al Hassan Toure can help them lift more silverware!

Riley McGree’s performance can best be described as how someone would react after a breakup. He was out with his new team and basically showed his old team what he could do with the right environment. The kid has a lot of promise and hopefully we will get to see his full potential at Adelaide United this season. The same goes for Mark Viduka medalist Al Hassan Toure, what a player this guy is turning out to be. I said just last week that Adelaide could have found a gem brighter than a Coober Pedy opal and he just continues to shine. Adelaide will be hoping his FFA Cup form carries into the A-League season.

Despite Adelaide’s 4-0 crushing of City on Wednesday night, I’m tipping Newcastle to get up 3-1 in front of their home crowd.

Western sydney vs Sydney FC – Saturday Night

Could we not ask for a better lead up to a Sydney Derby! Both teams undefeated and playing good football and fans of both sides are up and about.

The Wanderers got Baccus to their winning ways with an absolutely fantastic performance under the roof at Marvel Stadium last week. Keanu Baccus got the scoring underway for the visiting Wanderers with a shot that had better curve than J-Lo. Okay, maybe not that good. That goal was then followed up by Alex Meier finishing into an empty net after some confusion by the Victory defenders.

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This is clearance….

Markus Babbel has his side motoring along nicely like a 1920s era car, which coincidentally is where is fashion is from. The first goal that Wanderers scored on Friday night was the result of combination play by academy players and highlights the strength of the youth program the Wanderers have going.

Sydney FC got the win but they really had to work for it against a plucky Nix side. The new arrivals, Baumjohann, Bratten and Barbarouses have settled in well at Sydney so far. The Sky Blue side of Sydney are coming off back to back one goal victories and this Derby should have some added spice with Baumjohann stating that “it didn’t take me long to see that Sydney FC is the biggest club in the country by far and in all aspects of the game.”. I can’t imagine that Wanderers fans will take to kindly to that.

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Kosta, why didn’t you pass to me? Oh right, snakes have no legs…..

Rhyan Grant is the first bloke I know of with a mullet to score on a Sunday night, both on and off the pitch. The free kick from Brandon O’Neill was perfectly placed for Grant to caress the ball of the Nix keeper and ultimately give Sydney the win.

This derby should be a spectacle with Western Sydney getting the win 2-1 to keep their unbeaten run going with Matt Jurman to score the winner.

Wellington Phoenix v Perth GLory – Sunday afternoon

The Distance Derby kicks off the football on Sunday with Perth travelling to Wellington to take on the plucky Nix.

For a side that many predicted to finish down the bottom of the table, the Nix are living up to that hype. 2 losses from as many games but despite the big fat zero in the win column, the Phoenix are losing badly. First up against their parent club, Western United, they were weren’t a pushover and last Sunday night proved the same against the reigning champs, Sydney FC. Despite going a goal down inside the first 15, the Nix were the better side with David Ball and Jashua Soitiro looking dangerous and causing some decent chances and forcing Redmayne to make some good saves.

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Fine, I didn’t want to play any more anyway!

The Nix got level with Sydney FC thanks to their Mexican import Juan Goal, I mean Ulises Dávila scored his first A-League goal and you could just got the sense that Wellington had the momentum until Joe Dirt popped up and scored and any hope was extinguished when Liberato Cacace went and got himself a straight red for what could have been a leg-breaking tackle.

Perth meanwhile are continuing their journey east, last week it was Geelong, this week Wellington and I think if they keep heading east they will eventually get back to Perth. Hopefully their playing kits make the same journey after Qantas allegedly lost their kits upon arrival in Melbourne forcing the away side to play in their training jerseys with some hastily added names and numbers.

Perth fans are thinking that nepotism is a Glory-us thing after Kristian Popovic, son of coach Tony, managed to make an almost immediate impact by scoring the equaliser against Western United last Saturday. The Glory dominated the first half and had United under more pressure than a politician in front of Senate Inquiry! However, much like the opening round, they couldn’t maintain the pressure and we’re lucky to leave Geelong with a point.

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Diego probably asked for the ref to give Diamanti a yellow card for being this close.

I think all the travel with catch up with Perth this weekend and Wellington will be just too strong at home and run out 3-1 winners with star signing Gary Hooper scoring his first A-League goal and Diego Castro asking the referee to book every opponent that tackles him.

Western United v Melbourne city – Sunday Evening

And Round Three concludes with the first ever Small Melbourne Side Derby between newcomers Western United and Melbourne City down in Geelong.

This clash is the first of two for Western United against the established Melbourne sides over the next two rounds and will be a good test to see how many fans from the two established clubs have jumped ship to the new kids on the block. Last week Western United absorbed the Perth pressure like a brand new sponge and then after a Rudan Rocket, started the second half like a whole new side. Panagiotis Kone put in an early contender for goal of the season after some brilliant lead up play between him and Alessandro Diamanti and then a cracking, well placed shot into the top corner that Liam Reddy had zero chance of reaching. These two have already brought more culture to Geelong than you’d find on a petrie dish in a lab!

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The best Greek in Geelong since Mavs Restaurant opened!

The lads in Green and Black were very unlucky not to take all three points against the Glory, especially when Dylan Pierias got on the end of a lovely though ball and thought he had the hottest chip at GMHBA Park only to be denied by the crossbar. It would have been a fitting way to end their second game in the A-League but alas, Perth kept them out and a 1-1 draw was the final result.

Melbourne City are coming off a 4-0 thumping at the hands of Adelaide United in the FFA Cup final on Wednesday night where they were made to look very second rate. Like a lot of sides in the A-League this season, they are still trying to gel as a squad and looked very good in the first half against Adelaide last Sunday, which they won 2-1 but they let Adelaide back into the match and were very lucky to walk away with all three points.

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McLaren gives City a much needed touch of class

Having Jamie McLaren back gives Melbourne City a decent amount of firepower up forward with Craig Noone apparently only having a left foot. It will be very interesting to see how City pick themselves up after going to Adelaide and being comprehensively beating by Adelaide.

This was a hard one to pick but I reckon Western United will get up 3-2 in a hard fought match in front of around 8,000 people again this weekend.