DEAD BALL: Wellington’s Hernandez targets WC, versatile Brisbane looking the goods and is it time for technology?

Hernandez aims for Costa Rican World Cup squad

Carlos Hernandez is back. The Costa Rican was a household name in the league during his three-year stint with the Melbourne Victory and the former Johnny Warren medal winner is showing glimpses of his former self in his first two matches for his new club, Wellington Phoenix. Now reunited with Ernie Merrick, his old mentor at the Victory, Hernandez looks confident, comfortable and most importantly, his fitness levels have returned to a standard that is allowing him to play his best football. Motivated by Costa Rica’s recent qualification for the 2014 World Cup, Hernandez has publicly stated that his return to the A-League was instigated by his desire to make the Los Ticos squad that will fly out to Brazil next year. The team is skippered by Fulham’s Bryan Ruiz and filled with emerging young talent which will make it difficult for Hernandez however his relationship with coach Jorge Luis Pinto, who was his manager at Alajuelense, will greatly benefit his chances.

Poor refereeing decisions mar round two, time for technology?

A-League referees will certainly be under the microscope after a weekend of football that was marred by several game-changing decisions. Melbourne Victory was the first victim in their clash with Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium. Firstly, Victory goalkeeper Nathan Coe was wrongly adjudged to have brought down Jeronimo Neumann in the box with Sergio Cirio calmly slotting home the resulting penalty. If that wasn't enough, Young Socceroo Connor Pain converted an intelligent lay off from Archie Thompson only to be ruled offside. Television replays showed this was also an incorrect decision. Justice was somewhat restored in a game in which Victory dominated with Guilherme Finkler and James Troisi scoring late to rescue a point. In the dour Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory clash, referee Shaun Evans failed to award a late penalty when Nathan Burns appeared to be brought down by Glory’s Jack Clisby. The match ended in a 0-0 draw. Patrick Kisnorbo copped a horrible decision when he placed his hand on Mariners striker Matt Simon’s shoulder resulting in penalty that allowed the Mariners back into the game. There is no excuse for the poor standard of refereeing over round two, but would introducing technology to be able to review some of these contentious decisions help benefit the A-League? It’s something the governing body needs to give serious thought to.

Versatility the key for ladder leaders Brisbane Roar

Currently sitting top of the A-League ladder after two rounds, Mike Mulvey’s Brisbane Roar side are showing that they are the real deal this season. They have won their first two games of the season 4-0 and 2-1 for an aggregate of 6 goals to 1. However, the most impressive part of both of these games is the complete contrast of how both matches were won. In the opening round, the Roar travelled to Wellington to take on the Phoenix at Westpac Stadium. It was a hard-fought contest that defined grit, determination and resiliency as Ivan Franjic’s injury time goal secured a 2-1 victory at one of the toughest away grounds in the competition. On the weekend, the Roar displayed their ability to play football, dismantling Sydney FC by four goals to zero. Brisbane’s slick passing outclassed the Sky Blues who lost Alessandro Del Piero after thirty minutes of play. With the ability to win the games where maybe everything isn’t going their way and grind out three points, then to turn it out when necessary, makes Brisbane a dangerous side to play against this season.

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