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Brisbane Roar FC
Brisbane Roar FC
Both Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory will look to get their first wins of the season at Suncorp Stadium in their Round 3 A-League clash on Friday evening, 7:30pm (AEDT). Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match.
Melbourne Victory under the new management of Marco Kurz have only 1 point from 2 games, and suffered a fairly comprehensive home defeat to the Western Sydney Wanderers in their last outing.
Kurz is yet to find the winning formula with Victory, literally and figuratively, and he brings plentiful structural headaches into this match.
He has inherited a Victory squad that is a shadow of previous seasons. Victory’s problems are magnified in midfield, where Keisuke Honda, James Troisi, Raul Baena, Terry Antonis and Carl Valeri have all departed, and new signings Jakob Poulsen and Kristijan Dobras have not yet settled.
And while star striker Ola Toivonen has done his best to keep the ship afloat, he seems to be demonstrably missing strike partner Kostas Barbarouses to play beside.
It’s an exodus of midfield quality that should make Victory fans cringe. The pre-season PR was positive around the announcements of Socceroos Andrew Nabbout and Robbie Kruse, but with Kruse injured and unlikely to take the field in Brisbane, Marco Kurz needs a re-think here to change the outcome.
Elvis Kamsoba’s superb shuttle work in the second half of last week’s game suggests he could thrive in a deeper midfield role, while Nabbout’s speed and “Barbarouses-esque” energy would also suit a front two.
It might be bit much to expect Kurz to embrace the same diamond formation as Kevin Muscat, but right now it would have to be a consideration.
Robbie Fowler’s Brisbane Roar comes into this game fresh from a Round 2 bye, and likely still buoyant after pinching a draw away at Perth in week 1.
Roy O’Donovan’s final-minute-of-injury-time equaliser against the reigning (minor) Premier was a positive opening effort from this ragtag Brisbane team.
With a mixture of British and Irish scrappers from the lower tiers, A-League jobbers, and high energy Olyroos Aiden O’Neill and Stefan Mauk in the heart of midfield, Robbie Fowler has assembled a squad that will worry teams more than dominate them.
While they lack polish, this Roar unit will not be swatted away easily like last season’s incarnation.
The fact that they had slightly more of the ball against Perth, more shots (11 to 26), and more shots inside the box (8 to 5), suggests a professional unit that will have eyes on a finals spot.
One stat that Brisbane will dominate throughout this season is the number of O’s in the squad. Four O’s and one Mc is a combination to warm the hearts of many an erstwhile Celt.
This should be a close game. Victory will be desperate to get their first win of the season but won’t find it an easy proposition at Suncorp.
As this progresses the game should open up – Victory in particular have a soft underbelly in front of their back four – so I imagine goals but not enough of them to break the tie.
Brisbane Roar 1 – Melbourne Victory 1