Despite Sydney’s demoralising results over the past couple of weeks, thanks to the resignation of Ian Crook, it is Rado Vidosic and Brisbane Roar that will be feeling all the pressure when Sydney FC travel to Queensland Friday night.
After being the pacesetters for the past two seasons, Brisbane’s bubble has been well and truly burst with three straight losses including two at home.
A 5-0 drubbing of Melbourne Victory in week two had most thinking that it would be business as usual for the back-to-back grand final winners, but it is Brisbane that now find themselves in last place, not Melbourne Victory.
With nine of the teams most regular players having been with the club for the entire golden period, it would be difficult to lay much of the blame with them. The obvious change then has been the coach.
Support for Rado within the club has been universal to date, but with the teams poor results increasing, another loss in front of an expected large Lang Park crowd, against the team Roar fans love to hate, could see that support rapidly dwindle.
Is the pressure on Rado justified? Can he step up to fill the shoes of Ange Postecoglou?
Apart from last weeks game against Heart, Brisbane have dominated the stats every week except the most important one, who scores the most goals. Three 0-1 losses and a 1-1 draw would suggest that things may not be as bad as they seem.
In that context, Rado’s post-match conference seems like an overreaction at least.
In his time with Roar, and despite his success, Ange rarely chastised the players publicly. For Rado, who has yet to achieve anything as the man in charge, it is a sure way to start losing the respect of the playing group, and raise eyebrows with the general public.
At the start of the season, many comments were forthcoming about Rado’s role in Brisbane’s success. While he may have a good understanding of the game, his inexperience at being in charge is showing through.
To date, like many coaches, Rado seems to have a set game plan for the match, a plan he believes will get the best result on the day, but few other options.
Frank Farina was one such coach, good when in front but lacking in ideas when behind.
Guus Hidink on the other hand starts with plan A, then will change to plan B, or C or even D as and when circumstances dictate. Rado is yet to demonstrate any such tactical versatility during a match.
In a similar vein, even knowing when to make substitutions is something an assistant does not get much experience with.
Against Adelaide, for example, despite being behind, Rado hesitated to make any changes. The team was playing well but just failing to find that elusive breakthrough.
How often do you see players come on and make a game changing impact in just such a situation? Rado delayed making any changes until it was too late, and even then, the changes were just like for like, with no attempt to change the team pattern.
Is Rado capable of reversing the Roar’s poor form? Friday night will give a fairly clear indication of his ability to do just that. Another loss would be catastrophic for the Roar’s season.
While many will no doubt be there to get a glimpse of the great Del Pierro, for Brisbane fans it will be the performance of Vidosic that is most important.