Melbourne Victory can’t score: why?

Stuart Fazakerley Roar Rookie

By Stuart Fazakerley, Stuart Fazakerley is a Roar Rookie

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    On the train back from Etihad Stadium last night, my mind wandered to a day a mere two months ago. My beloved Melbourne Victory, already a force to be reckoned with both on and off the field, announced that they had signed one of Australia’s, nay, the world’s premier footballers, Harry Kewell.

    It was massive news, and created an influx of positive interest, and press, for the A-League and for Victory.

    The uninitiated fawned over the rock star that is Kewell. The A-League fence-sitters jumped on board and were prepared to give the league a chance. And the diehards, and football press, were crowing about the incredible potency, on paper, of the Victory forward line, which already boasted club legend Thompson, mainstays Hernandez and Allsopp, and Brisbane Roar recruit Solorzano.

    ‘Who could stop them?’ they asked. Fears about our ability to defend were waved away by the logic that a 4-3 win is still a win. Halcyon days were on our doorstep.

    The shudder of the brakes as the train arrived at my station brought me out of my daydream, and I was faced with a sobering reality.

    In over 270 minutes of football, the Melbourne Victory have not scored a goal. Why, in 270 minutes of football, the Melbourne Victory have not even looked like scoring a goal. The Victory forward line, potent on paper, are impotent off it.

    Let’s discuss potency then. From a physiological point of view, potency is a male’s capacity to mate with a female. It encompasses strength, virility, effectiveness. It is, instinctively, a desirable trait, as it helps ensure the continuation of the species.

    In today’s world, though, potency is not enough to ensure one’s name lives on. Mating requires a relationship be built and maintained, for parties to know, trust, and love each other enough to embark on that journey together. These relationships can take any amount of time to find, and will have countless obstacles, but that commitment is rewarded in time.

    So, it has to be asked: What’s stopping the most potent forward lineup from, pardon the pun, scoring?

    The parallels with the dating game, and the Victory’s troubles, are painfully obvious. Theoretically, they should be able to wipe the floor with all comers.

    The strength, ability, and effectiveness of their forward players has been proven time and time again. Thompson can score goals, Allsopp can score goals, as can Hernandez and Solorzano. Add in Harry Kewell and they should be the greatest forward lineup the A-League has ever known.

    Possibly, it is because those necessary facets for a relationship, the knowing and trusting of each other, don’t exist yet. This is understandable for a team with key players, in Covic and Kewell, added in on short notice, but not for long.

    It could be because the coach, Mehmet Durakovic, doesn’t trust himself enough to radically change the Victory game plan set by his predecessor, Ernie Merrick, causing players like Thompson and Kewell to be constantly played out of position.

    Or maybe, ten of the players on the field just don’t trust themselves enough to take a chance when it’s easier to pass it to Harry Kewell and pray for some trademark magic.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad for the Victory. They’ve stolen two points from their three games, thanks, in no small part, to a surprisingly effective defence, led by a revelation in goal named Ante Covic. This, and the 80,000 that have gone through the gates at Etihad over the first two home games, will be small relief for Victory HQ.

    However, this will not stand for long. Melbourne must soon start to live up to the hype, or risk letting the season that was to be their biggest yet, become their undoing.

    They need look no further than the Brisbane Roar for inspiration. There, a team with no real standout, but with trust in each other, and ability in spades, already seems to be cruising towards a second title. Add the attitude of the Roar to the list of the Victory, and the end result would no doubt amaze.

    For the team’s sake, and the league’s, one can only hope it happens soon.

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    The Crowd Says (23)

    • October 23rd 2011 @ 10:12am
      Football United said | October 23rd 2011 @ 10:12am | ! Report

      I want a sacking but i doubt di pietro is willing to admit he was wrong to hire mem as manager. I’m at least comforted by the rumours that deadwoods like celeski and pondlejak are likely to be released so we can have some cap space to buy a central midfielder.

    • October 23rd 2011 @ 10:18am
      Midfielder said | October 23rd 2011 @ 10:18am | ! Report

      Stuart

      Love the passion mate …. I think you need a better coach but not KM … I think he may be part of Mehet problem TBH…

      MV need to sign Vidmar as short term cover and go from there..

      • October 23rd 2011 @ 3:12pm
        Football United said | October 23rd 2011 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

        ugh, after what little i’ve seen him do with the olyroos i might pass on vidmar.

    • Roar Guru

      October 23rd 2011 @ 11:02am
      Fussball ist unser leben said | October 23rd 2011 @ 11:02am | ! Report

      Nice article. I think anyone, who has played the game at senior level would understand that it takes time to gel as a team.

      The core to success in modern football is movement and spatial awareness. When your team is attacking it means you have to know where your team-mate with the ball expects you to run; and when you are defending it’s knowing where you should position yourself to best cut off the angles and stifle the opposition.

      So far, when MVFC attacks, we look like a group of individuals that don’t know each other – which is not surprising. This was really obvious when Carlos came on. He and Archie are on the same wavelength – Archie knows exactly where and when to run when Carlos has the ball.

      After 3 matches, I had expected MVFC to have 4 points; so, if we are playing badly, and only 2 points behind my projections I’m not too concerned.

      Disappointed – for sure. Concerned and wanting to make rash decisions on management – certainly not.

      • October 23rd 2011 @ 2:04pm
        Simon Boegheim said | October 23rd 2011 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

        Fussball. I really can’t fathom you. A sensible, measured response in this instance, yet if ,as suggested, you are Fig Jam on another website, your contributions there are total rubbish and demeaning of anyone who dares to disagree with you or criticise your beloved MVC.

        Most of your comments on this site show that you have a good grasp and knowledge of the beautiful game and have been around for quite a few years because of your historic knowledge.

        Youir posts like this particular one will attract intelligent, measured responses and enlightened discussions about our game and responses from supporters of other clubs that are sympathetic to your current plight..

        Why can’t Brisbane Roar supporters enjoy what their team is achieving at the moment? Ange, his technical staff and the team deserve the plaudits they are getting at the moment and the real barometer of the Roar’s success is the way most of the supporters from other clubs recognize their achievements. We have a star team and not a team of stars with every individual working his backside of to realize the goals that have been set.

        Don’t worry, the undefeated run will come to an end and quite frankly it won’t surprise me if it comes at the hands (or feet) of Victory. Your team has always played some of its best football against the Roar and the game in a fortnight’s time, in my humble opinion anyway, is likely to be no different.

        However, please realize that success comes in cycles and your team is no different. It has had great successes in the past and will do so again at some future stage. Right now though, the likes of the Roar, Adelaide (yes in spite of yesterday’s result) and some of the other supposed minnows are producing the goods and receiving all the accolades and recognition. Think about it Fussball, they deserve it and so do their supporters.

        Roar supporters had to live with lots of criticism and negativity in the past, but now they are entitled to enjoy the good times.

        No need to bait others or deride them Fussball. Give credit where it is due and be objective and fair in your comments and we can all be friends.

        I even seem to recall a post from you a few weeks ago where you promised the turn over a new leaf and adopt the spirit of the ‘We are Football’ slogan.

        United we stand, divided we fall!!!!!!!!!!!

        HAL Season 7 promises to be the best ever. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

        • October 23rd 2011 @ 2:24pm
          David V. said | October 23rd 2011 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

          That much is true. Fussball is undeniably knowledgable and passionate, but he did show a certain smugness and denialism last season regarding both Muscat and the fact Victory found themselves in decline. He’s improved in his assessments of last night’s game though!

        • October 23rd 2011 @ 3:14pm
          Football United said | October 23rd 2011 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

          aha, i knew he was figjam! dead give away when someone with an mvfc logo dp insists on putting the word ‘facts’ in caps lock on every single post.

    • Roar Guru

      October 23rd 2011 @ 12:01pm
      The Cattery said | October 23rd 2011 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

      jamesb mentions on another thread that Mehm appears to be relying a bit too much on assembling individuals rather than creating a team that functions together.

      There are lots of examples to back such a view up, which I left on that thread.

      This is the interesting thing for me – given how weak the Heart was defensively, in the past Ernie would have pushed hard for a win – did Mehm push hard enough for a win?

      The answer is no.

      On the live blog, I made this very comment: when the game was still there to be won, with MV showing a tiny bit more in the 2nd half, he replaced Rojas with Carlos.

      But Rojas has been the most productive player for the Victory over the three games to date – so if you really want the win, you don’t take him off, you replace one of Brebs or Broxham with Carlos, yes it’s a risk – but you need to go for the win, not hang on for the draw!

    • October 23rd 2011 @ 12:08pm
      Antonio said | October 23rd 2011 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

      Last night Victory played with no structure it seemed they couldn’t put 3 pasts together and rely too much on the long ball to push forward, up the other end Covic once again was the reason victory kept a clean sheet. It looks to me that there are 11 victory players on the pitch and not a fully formed and working team I blame the coach he is such an amateur and makes victory play this negative counter attacking football that so far hasn’t provided a single result or goal. If the coach dosen’t make the right changes victory fans who are the best fans in the a-league will soon be calling for him to to get the sack.

    • October 23rd 2011 @ 12:10pm
      Titus said | October 23rd 2011 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

      I think this is a good chance for Kewell to show his worth. He should be able to use his experience to help control the tempo of the game, to emphasise the importance of possession and making the right runs and the right passes.

      He doesn’t need to do everything himself, he just needs to guide the team, do the simple things well, make the right decisions at the right time and have a few moments each game that creates chances.

      This will be a good test of character for the club and the fans and the important thing is you don’t self-implode. I realise it is hard when there are so many in your city who desperately want to see you die, as though 80 000 people have never turned up at the MCG to watch a disappointing game of AFL.

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