Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Canberra United: Back on track?

Canberra United thumped lowly Adelaide United 4-0 on the weekend, no surprise there, but maybe Coach Ray Junna has found a solution to the teams surprisingly low-key performances this season.

Under Coach Robbie Hooker and last season under Junna United performed well. Reaching the final four each time, playing some entertaining football in both seasons, while missing it seemed just a ruthless finisher to go one step forward.

This year United has signed last years top scorer in the league, Michelle Heymann, Matildas stars Caitlin Munoz and Sally Shipard returned and the best of the rest were one year older and wiser.

It could only get better, or so we thought.

It hasn't not yet. Or is that just me. We've not lost, thumped two poor teams and drew with Brisbane, never a mean feat.

Emily Van Egmond was pushed further forward at the top of a midfield diamond it seemed to me, and with touch players Grace Gill and Kahlia Hogg in the starting line-up there could be hope for improved football performances as the season goes on.

Better results? I'd rather more football, more entertainment - but that's just me!

But is there enough time for a new pattern? The season is so short.

Adelaide were brushed aside, due in part to their woeful defensive opening rather than any great United skill. That said United punished them quickly and ended the scoring after 23 minutes or so.

I'd predicted 6-0 and rain before the first goal went in. I got the rain right at least.

From the 23rd minute until the match was abandoned due to rain early in the second half United surprisingly failed to dominate Adelaide a team lower in the table, playing away from home, and already 4-0 down, and not a Matilda in their line-up.

I was puzzled.

Adelaide had chances, too many, to score.

Canberra won. Delighted I was. Injuries may have forced the team change in formation. But with a heavy pitch and interrupted game it's hard to know yet if United have an attacking potency, and shape, to take on the best.

Three road trips will test them.

For me we're a long way off last seasons best. The two new defenders are yet to settle into a sweet passing distribution game; hence the ball from the back is often sent long and then lost.

But Emily Van Egmond pushed forward could be our wild card. Strong, fast and a shot to die for - when released from her midfield responsibilities she may yet turn into a powerful asset for the team.

Captain Brush and co have high expectations on them after their first two seasons, if not in results, certainly in attacking football.

In truth only the performance against Melbourne Victory left me completely surprised, and last weeks early attacking display against Adelaide may set the tone for the rest of the season.

Next up it's the Jets - away. Having recently dumped Sydney FC, Canberra will need to be at their best.

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