Posts Tagged ‘marvin angulo’

Dawning of a new era

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Etihad Stadium Tilt-Shift

Last night saw the dawning of a new era for Melbourne Victory with Mehmet Durakovic becoming only the second manager to be in charge of the club during its relatively short history albeit only in a caretaker role. However, the changing of the guard did little to change our fortunes in Asia as we again lost, this time 2-1 to Jeju United. Not that there were many people there to actually see it take place.

The loss was a familiar tale, with a goal conceded from a set piece and the other late on. Although to be fair to our opponents they were the better side on the night and probably deserved to take all three points and thus condemning to an uphill battle to get out of the group stages of the competition for the first time in our history.

Considering that he had little more than three days in the job it was always going to be difficult for Durakovic to actually have any impact on our playing style or tactics. He did however give Isaka Cernak his first game for the Victory and the former North Queensland Fury player did more than enough to indicate that he will be a worthy addition to the team and with time his combinations with the likes of Archie Thompson will definitely improve.

Last night also saw a much slimmer looking Carlos Hernandez take to the field in the second half and unlike for most of last season his appearance on the field gave us the impetus in the midfield that we were lacking up until that stage. He came on as a replacement for fellow Costa Rican, Marvin Angulo but from my point of view it would be better for the team if both were out on the pitch together. I would have Tom Pondeljak make way for both of them to take their place in the Victory midfield.

Much of where it went wrong last night was when we actually got the possession we didn’t do that much with it. This was down to the fact that too often players were left isolated allowing two or three Jeju United players to quickly dispossess them and end any attacking foray. One prime example was when Danny Allsopp won the ball in midfield through his own industry and was then forced to head for the touchline because he was getting no support from his teammates.

Next up for the Victory is a visit to our sister city Tianjin to take on group leaders Tianjin Teda in what is now shaping up as a must win game. We of course have history with our opponents formerly meeting twice in what would appear to be the now defunct Lord Mayor’s Cup. Our last meeting resulted in a win on penalties. Let’s hope we can repeat that result come our next encounter.

Six and out

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

So we have come to the end the sixth season of the Melbourne Victory. A season full of dramas and momentous occasions that didn’t turn exactly how we all hoped and expected. With the somewhat enforced retirement of Kevin Muscat an era within the club has also come to an end.

Amongst all the accusations, persecutions and celebrations there were a number of highlights, including:

  • The first Melbourne derby was despite the outcome was one of the momentous occasions of the season with the atmosphere being one that hasn’t been witnessed in the A-League before.
  • The form of Marvin Angulo in the last couple of months has been a revelation. In fact one might go as far to say he is now the most important Costa Rican in the team. With the end of his loan period coming to an end it would be paramount that the Victory hierarchy ensure that his stay is a much longer one.
  • With concerns over an aging backline it was extremely pleasing to see Petar Franjic come through and show enough to signal that he will be a regular starter come the next A-League season.
  • Combining architectural innovation with an impeccable surface AAMI Park truly stamped itself as one of the best purpose built rectangular stadiums in the country.

We now have the Asian Champions League to look forward to but if you want to read some thoughts regarding our final loss, check out my latest blog for Australian FourFourTwo.

As rare as two wins in a row

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

SOCCER Hyundai A-League 2010: 18 December - Melbourne Victory def Perth Glory 2-0

Something extremely rare happened on Saturday night, rare in the fact that up until the final whistle blew, us Victory fans had yet to see a consecutive win so far this season.

Two-thirds into the season and we are finally seeing some consistency in the performances from the team of the blue half of town. Unfortunate as it was to draw against the Roar two weeks ago, the performance has certainly appeared to provide the necessary impetus in the following two matches that give us fans some hope of a decent finals campaign.

However, just as it seems that the “two steps forward, three steps back” nature of our season might have come to an end, injuries to the recently returned Thompson and Kemp might kill off any momentum that may have been building. It has been no coincidence that the consistency that we crave has come when those two have been on the pitch.The return of Kemp has forced Merrick to do away with the somewhat disastrous idea of trying to fit the triumvirate of Muscat, Vargas and Leijer into a back four. With Kemp again forced back to the treatment table, how Merrick reacts will also be paramount. If he returns to the setup at the back that we saw before the return of Kemp, then it is obvious lessons haven’t been learnt.

A number of weeks back, in one of my pieces for Australian FouFourTwo I called for Marvin Angulo to get regular game time in order to see whether he could contribute effectively to the team. Merrick seems to have heeded my advice, with the slight Costa Rican starting the last five matches and finally showing on the pitch what everyone has been raving about on the training ground. His tireless running and his link between the back and front thirds has now made him a certain starter for the remainder of the season. He has impressed so much that he has appeared to have attracted the attention of teams in the MLS.

In all the hubbub surrounding the return of Thompson and the free-scoring ways of Robbie Kruse, many have forgotten that Ricardinho is still around and his return on Saturday night in the context of things it will be crucial how quickly he fits back into the team and can feed off the confidence of those around him.

Our next two encounters against the Jets and the Mariners will surely define the direction in which we will be heading in 2011, particularly when it comes to the month of February. Two wins would be perfect, two draws would be okay, two losses would be disastrous. What it will be though is season defining.

Not quite plain sailing

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

SOCCER Hyundai A-League 2010: 18 November - Melbourne Victory drew Central Coast Mariners 2-2

In the lead up to Thursday night’s match against the Central Coast Mariners, Ernie Merrick clearly articulated that a win was what the Victory needed in order to still have any chance of a top two finish. So I guess you can say with some assurance after the 2-2 draw that any slim chance we had of the double chance disappeared out the proverbial window.

Based on the first half performance from the Victory it looked like Merrick’s motivational skills were simply not working. For the most part, the team looked insipid, disinterested and lacklustre. In fact, it looked a lot like the team that rocked up again Perth Glory the week before. Apart from some neat interchanges between Angulo and Thompson there was very little to write home about. Add to that we also copped a goal to a typical Central Coast sucker punch.

The second half came and it appeared to be more of the same until BANG, a cheeky Vargas back heel and sumptuous Carlos Hernandez free kick within three minutes of each other saw the confidence return to both the players and the fans. For a good period of time this was the team we all know and love and were tearing the Mariners to shreds. If it wasn’t for some poor finishing we could have knocked in a few more.

And it was that profligacy in front of goal that would ultimately cost us all three points as corner that shouldn’t have been found it’s way across the goal line and the hearts of many Victory fans were broken. What looked like it good have been a season turning win just turned out to be like many other games this year and in the process put a serious dent in what is left of our confidence.

It was good to see Merrick give Angulo his second start in succession, something that has never happened before and the Costa Rican is showing signs that the extended game time is doing wonders as he put in what I would consider a best on ground performance. For his confidence and that of the team I can only hope that Merrick sees fit to give him an extended run and that he also puts one of his many chances in the back of the net.

I must admit after the game a red mist descended over my eyes and it was probably a good thing that I didn’t have access to twitter let alone this blog in the minutes after the match had concluded. This was mainly to do with the pathetic display of refereeing that Gerard Parsons again displayed. I have already put forward my thoughts on the poor excuse for a referee a while back and that there is no need to repeat it here but I dread the next time he is in charge of a Victory game.

So now with rather an extended break at hand and a little over half the season gone it provides the team with a much needed opportunity to rest tired bodies and minds and make a concerted push for the finals when they return.

They were lucky it wasn’t more

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

SOCCER Hyundai A-League 2010: 16 October - Melbourne Victory def Sydney FC 3-0

One of the keys to Sydney FC’s relative success over the Melbourne Victory in their 2009/10 double winning season was their ability to shackle the rampaging Carlos Hernandez like no other team could. In light of that it was rather pleasing to see the Costa Rican provide an assist and also get on the scoresheet  in Saturday’s romp over the still winless champions. Not that Hernandez has been playing that badly up to then anyway.

The confidence boosting win over Sydney FC is difficult to judge mainly because Sydney FC are really that bad. The defence that was so measly in their last campaign was completely porous on Saturday and if it wasn’t for some poor finishing (I’m look at you Ricardinho and Rodrigo Vargas) we could very well have had a repeat of that 5-0 thrashing in Season 1, which coincidentally occurred five years to the day on Saturday.
The real test of where the Victory is really at will come in the next matches against Brisbane and Adelaide. Whilst they may have beaten the Roar 3-0 a number of weeks back, the team from Queensland is playing some of the best football in the competition at the moment. Despite our impressive record at Suncorp Stadium it will be a difficult challenge.

As for Adelaide, I can’t really say that much about them as the only match of theirs I have witnessed was their 0-0 bore draw with Gold Coast United. That aside, their results so far speak for themselves and it will be interesting to see if our winning streak against them can continue.

Whilst one Costa Rican may have grabbed all the headlines on Saturday, it’s the lack of game time for another that forms the subject of my latest effort for Australian FourFourTwo, which you can read here.

Carrying the weight of expectation

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

A-League - Grand Final - Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC - 10 March 2010

Whilst it was all well and good that Melbourne kept its fourth clean sheet in a row, what was more concerning that it was the third game in a row in which the team failed to find the back of the net. One key factor in the failure of Carlos Hernandez to find the back of the net so far this season, something that he managed to do thirteen times last season.

Whilst critics and fans alike like to assume it is because he is carrying extra weight in my opinion it down to having to carry the weight of expectation of a season like the last one, especially in the continued absence of Archie Thompson. In my latest blog for Australian FourFourTwo I take those critics and fans to task, especially those who constantly question is weight and fitness.

As for the game itself, it was pretty riveting 0-0 draw. However that being said, I can’t actually remember either of the keepers having to make any crucial saves, especially Michael Petkovic. With the absence of Brebner through injury it was pleasing to see Merrick give Marvin Angulo given a full ninety minutes in which to strut his stuff. And the Costa Rican midfielder didn’t let him down, playing his best game so far for the club. If he gets regular game time, his confidence will grow and hopefully take some of that pressure of his fellow countryman.

On a slightly different note, I have also started contributing to Sam Kelly’s excellent blog about Argentinian football, Hasta El Gol Siempre in his weekly segment entitled Argentine’s Abroad. Whilst the Victory doesn’t contain any Argentinians I will be updating the readers of Hasta El Gol Siempre on the weekly exploits of Adelaide United’s Marcos Flores and Central Coast Mariners’ Patricio Perez.

Performance of import(ance)

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

A-League - Round 19 - Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix FC - 26 Jan 2010

After Saturday night’s win against Adelaide I wrote in my latest blog for 442 that it was one down and two to go in what is the most important week of the season. So I guess after last night’s 4-0 demolition of Wellington Phoenix it is now two down and one to go for the Melbourne Victory. You get the picture.

Last night’s standout performance was from new Costa Rican import, Marvin Angulo. After struggling in his opening game against Newcastle (who wouldn’t struggle after three months of not playing football) he has impressed off the bench in his last two matches and earned himself a starting position against the Phoenix. After a somewhat slow start to the game he steadily worked himself into the play and capped off his performance by setting up Archie Thompson for a goal in his 100th match for the Victory.

Whilst occasionally being knocked off the ball a little too easily (although to his credit in most cases he continued to fight for the ball) and his final shot was a little week it surely was a performance that will have opposition teams a little worried in the final stages of the season. Dare I say, it was a performance reminiscent of a certain Brazilian player from Season 2, whose name we dare not mention.

Looking forward now to the final match of this all important week against Gold Coast United where a win will cement our position in the top two. Before getting ahead of myself it must be noted that the team from up north is definitely a step up in calls from both Adelaide and Wellington and should provided for an absorbing contest. Can’t wait for it.

Don’t forget that Victory In Melbourne can now be found on Facebook and you can become a fan. It’s only just started and there is not much to look at, but you can check it out here and more importantly become a fan.

Victory vs Jets: Minute by minute (the third installment)

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Welcome to Victory In Melbourne’s minute by minute analysis of Melbourne Victory’s clash against the Newcastle Jets at Energy Australia Stadium, kickoff at 5pm AEST.

(Note: This page does not automatically update so you are going have to keep hitting that refresh button to see what’s going on.)

Angulo gets a start in his debut: Mitchell Langerak (gk), Kevin Muscat, Leigh Broxham, Matthew Kemp (c), Archie Thompson, Rodrigo Vargas, Carlos Hernandez, Robbie Kruse, Nick Ward, Adrian Leijer, Marvin Angulo. On the bench: Glenn Moss, Grant Brebner, Tom Pondeljak, Mate Dugandzic

Newcastle Starting XI: Neil Young (gk), Adam D’Apuzzo, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Ljubo Milicevic, Ben Kantarovski, Jin-Hyung Song, Matt Thompson (c), Tarek Elrich, Jobe Wheelhouse, Michael Bridges, Labinot Haliti. On the bench: Ben Kennedy, Sasho Petrovski, Sean Rooney, Ali Abbas. Look for plenty of puns with Neil Young in goals for the Jets. Hopefully he has a heart of gold towards the Victory and lets in a few goals.

2 mins: In the week leading up to this game, Jobe Wheelhouse reckons that South Americans (sic) don’t like to get kicked so he’s going to give Hernandez a few.

5 mins: Langerak pulls off a brilliant save to deny Michael Bridges. An early warning for the Victory.

10 mins: Sloppy opening from both teams early on. No one able to really assert themselves on the game.

13 mins: Can anybody explain to me why the Energy Australia Stadium pitch is in such bad condition? Looks like they have been holding tractor demonstrations.

14 mins: Angulo gets wrongly called offside on the edge of the penalty area denying Melbourne are scoring opportunity. Wheelhouse still yet to get near Hernandez to carry out his promise.

18 mins: Kevin Muscat gets the first yellow card of the game for a flying kick on opposing captain, Matthew Thompson. Probably a tad lucky to still remain on the pitch, it was fairly blatant.

19 mins: How about a bit of variety of the free-kicks, sometimes it pays not to take them quickly. Although looking at Broxham’s delivery they be the best option. Earlier the linesman on the opposite side of the pitch also forgets the rule book and calls Newcastle offside from a throw-in.

22 mins: Kantarovski picks up Newcastle’s first yellow card for an act of petulance.

26 mins: Matt Thompson puts the Jets in front after being set up nicely by Michael Bridges. It begs the question why he was left unmarked that close to goal. Maybe the goal will bring some composure into the Victory game, have been looking a little sloppy so far.

28 mins: Langerak denies Haliti from close range. Another example of some poor defending from the Victory as the Jet’s striker was allowed to much space in the front third.

31 mins: Maybe the Jets have Kruse confused with Hernandez, as the former Roar player has been getting kicked left, right and centre.

33 mins: PENALTY to Melbourne Victory for a blatant shirt tug by Kantarovski on Robbie Kruse in the area. Second yellow for Kantarovski sees him take an early shower and the Jets are down to ten men. Kevin Muscat duly converts the resulting penalty to bring the scores back to level pegging.

36 mins: Yellow card to Michael Bridges for a foul on Leijer. One has to think that Wheelhouse must be giving the team talks instead of Culina.

41 mins: Nick Ward gives us a fine example of the Maradona spin on the edge of the area, unfortunately it comes to nothing. Kruse looking the most dangerous of the Melbourne forwards, with Archie Thompson being rarely sighted.

44 mins: Goal to the Jets as Michael Bridges slips in unmarked at the back post. Another example of some poor defending sees Newcastle take a 2-1 lead. Poor effort by the Victory considering they have the man advantage.

45+2 mins: Matthew Breeze blows the whistle for half-time. Some seriously poor defending has seen the Victory give up to easy goals to the Newcastle Jets. Hopefully, Merrick will give them a good talking to in the half time interval and the second half will see the Victory make the most of their man advantage. The debutant, Marvin Angulo has rarely been in the play so far.

Half-time: A-League website has Melbourne having 71% of the possession. Slight exaggeration of Melbourne’s possession there don’t you think, probably more like 60%. Now to make that possession count. The lovely Mel McLaughlin tells us that Brebner is coming on for Angulo and Sean Rooney will be coming on for Bridges for the Jets. If I was a betting man, I would take Sportsbet up on that $3.25 for the Victory to win.

49 mins: Hernandez gets his first shot on target for the match. Unfortunately its straight at the Jets’ keeper.

51 mins: Melbourne defence again gets caught napping by a beautiful Song cross, fortunately for the Victory Rooney blazes it well over.

54 mins: Kemp robs Song blind and then makes a run into the penalty area that comes to nothing.

55 mins: Goal to Haliti (this guys sure likes to score against the Victory, his third in as many matches). Beautiful volley but again the defending leaves a lot to be desired. Also cops a yellow card for removing his shirt.

58 mins: Andy Harper is blaming Melbourne’s poor form in this match on lethargy from possible intensive training. No excuse really, considering they are a man up.

61 mins: Keep your arms by your side Vargas, that should have been a penalty to the Jets. Melbourne’s chance of taking the premiership could very well hinge on Perth’s performance against Sydney FC in the match following this one.

64 mins: Langerak saves a free Sean Rooney header. If that had gone in, it would have definitely been curtains for the Victory.

65 mins: Yellow card to Leijer for pulling on Matt Thompson’s shirt. Can’t see why he’s complaining about that one really.

72 mins: Simon Hill describes it as a most un-Melbourne like performance. It’s looking very much like Melbourne’s last start performance against the Fury so I guess that makes it two un-Melbourne like performances in a row. Whilst a lot of the blame could be placed at the feet of the defence for the result so far the front third is looking extremely unimaginative. Would have liked to see Nathan Elasi get a game in this one as he provides a different option going forward.

78 mins: Langerak gets down low to deny a Song free-kick that was bent nicely around the wall.

81 mins: Socceroo Matthew Kemp makes way for Mate Dugandzic. Who would have thought that after his relatively poor start for the Victory three seasons again that he would get a Socceroos starting spot.

82 mins: I give Abbas a 2 out of 10 for a dive that took place about fifteen minutes after being fouled.

86 mins: A crowd of 6,979 announced. Most of them who would be pretty happy with what they are seeing. Although there is a good Victory travelling contingent and they definitely wouldn’t be happy with they are seeing.

90+1 mins: GOAL to Hernandez! Probably a little too late you would have to think as Hernandez curls his shot around a despairing Neil Young.

90+3 mins: Matthew Breeze blows the final whistle just as Ali Abbas takes another theatrical dive after clashing with Kevin Muscat. A poor performance from the Victory, especially considering that they had a man advantage for almost an hour. Uninspiring in attack and sloppy in defence and as Simon Hill correctly stated, hands the advantage to Sydney FC in the race for the premiership. Two ordinary performances in a row on the road by the Victory, the home fans will surely be expecting a better home performance next week against Perth Glory.

Costa Rican love affair continues

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

It looks like Ernie Merrick’s love affair with Costa Rica has continued with the signing of Marvin Angulo from Club Sport Herediano as an injury replacement for Billy Celeski. On the surface, it doesn’t appear a like for like replacement as Marvin Angulo looks to be more of a attacking midfielder. He will be interesting to see how he copes with the physicality of the A-League as he listed as being 172cm and only weighing 58kgs. Here’s hoping that he is a Carlos Hernandez kind of success and not the Jose Luis Lopez kind.

Speaking of love affairs, Melbourne seems to love playing Adelaide with the Victory racking up their seventh straight win against our arch enemy. That feeling of love for Adelaide was the topic of choice for my latest piece for Australian FourFourTwo, which you can read here.