Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Magia de Milton

I was driving to Brisbane from Noosa while the first leg of the semi finals between Sydney FC and the Newcastle Jets was on. I was desperately scanning the AM band hoping that there might be a station covering the action of the first leg of the semi finals.

Considering Brisbane were eliminated from the finals series by Sydney a week earlier I did not hold out much hope that I'd pick up a station covering the game but the lords of football were smiling upon me and I locked in on ABC radio who were covering the game. I had missed the first 15 minutes of the game at this point and the commentator announced that Sydney FC were leading 1 - 0, I let out a joyous roar while shaking my fist in the air much to my wife’s embarrassment.

From the play by play commentary it sounded like Sydney were playing their best game of the season; intercepting passes, dispossessing Newcastle of the ball at will and relentlessly attacking the Newcastle goal. It sounded like Sydney had complete domination over Newcastle and it would only be a matter of time before Sydney would double their lead. Sydney won a corner which was nothing to get too excited about, my Portuguese friend and I feel Sydney don't put enough pressure on the keeper during corners and they always approach corners with the same predictable tactic of swarming the goal mouth as the corner is taken. But to my surprise they scored thanks to a Mark Milligan driving header.

Newcastle were in danger of being over run and their finals hopes were hanging in the balance, a third goal would have not only killed them off in the first leg but would make it unlikely of Newcastle winning the second leg as they would need to win by an even greater margin than the margin they were trailing by.

The half time whistle blew and it all seemed academic now, even the commentators who had a bias for Newcastle were downbeat and seemed to have accepted the outcome thatSydney would continue to dominate and extend their lead making the second leg a foregone conclusion.
I on the other hand was not so optimistic and an element of caution had taken hold over me as I knew that a very dangerous player was about to enter the fray on the opposing side of the pitch, one Milton Rodriguez.

The second half commenced and then it happened, Milton Rodriguez AKA "Magia de Milton" (Magic Milton) entered the field of combat. Newcastle has been using this guy as an impact player where if I was the coach he’d be in my starting line up. Many people view this guy as just a sharp shooting striker but from what I’ve seen of him he’s more than just a one trick pony. He has a mastery over the ball that fools seasoned defenders and creates vital spaces in critical areas en route to goal. He executed a sublime back heal pass to set up one of the four goals scored against Melbourne a week earlier. The guy not only scores goals but can also set them up, I find it’s his team mates that have trouble keeping up with him and it’s their first touch that foils a potential goal scoring threat teed up by Milton.

Back to the game, Newcastle didn’t have to wait too long for their Columbian import to do what he does best and that is putting the ball in the back of the net. My anticipated fear was realised Milton was in the mood to play. Sydney managed to hold on to their slender one goal lead which seemed in jeopardy of disappearing at any point in the remainder of the match. I breathed a sigh of relief at the final whistle, the dream of back to back titles is still alive for now.

When I saw the highlights of the match I was amazed by the goal that “Magia de Milton” scored. The radio commentators did no justice relaying the stunning calibre of the strike; the guy was several meters out from goal on his own surrounded by Sydney FC players trying to strip him of the ball. If this was any other A-League player the story would have ended here. But Milton kept possession of the ball, side stepped an oncoming defender and in the slightest gap that opened up between the wall of defenders he fired a driving shot between the defenders that landed in the back of the net, Bolton didn’t see it coming and his expression of disbelief is a testament to the quality of the shot. For my money it was the goal of the season because it was a shot taken under pressure where timing came down to split seconds and it was also a visually impressive goal. It was a goal that would be impressive in any top flight league around the world and reminded me of the winning goal Adriano scored against Argentina in the Coppa America final when he was at his absolute peek. In short it was a piece of individual brilliance that sometimes is needed to win tightly contested games where team work fails to produce that elusive winner.

I hope that Newcastle only play him in the second half of the second leg of the semi final as in my opinion they are only giving themselves only half a chance of winning.

I heard a rumour that Sydney FC is interested in acquiring the services of Milton Rodriguez, I hope this rumour materialises into reality. It would be a huge bonus if we could get him to play for us in the Asian Champions League. Maybe it’s not so far fetched considering playing in the premier competition in Asia would appeal to any player outside of Europe who is looking to get noticed by the talent scouts of the big clubs in Europe who will surely have an eye on the Asian version of the European Champions League.


NEWMAN said...

It sounds like somebody is most fond of that Magic Milton.

NEWMAN said...

911 called, asking for you. They said that you need to remove yourself from the gene pool immediately.