Brisbane Roar need to make one major change

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While they sit just a goal off top spot, cracks are beginning to show in the Brisbane Roar’s title challenge heading into the final few rounds of the regular season.

Since the start of 2016 the Roar have been on the end of a number of thrashings and were again dealt a heavy defeat at the weekend, losing 6-3 to a resurgent Perth Glory.

Head coach John Aloisi was adamant he wasn’t going to make major changes ahead of the crucial away tie against Adelaide United, who have now shot up the table to sit only two points behind his side.

“We can’t dwell on it. We have to quickly move on because Adelaide play differently to Perth and we have to focus on them now,” he said.

“I don’t think there’s going to be mass changes. It’s a different sort of game.”

While it’s hard to say how Aloisi will set up his backline for his next fixture with Daniel Bowles, Luke DeVere and Corey Brown amongst those available to step-up, there is one obvious change he should make; the person in goal.

After their demoralizing 4-0 thumping at the hands of Melbourne Victory in January, goalkeeper Jamie Young was dropped in favour of veteran stopper Michael Theo and he has not been between the sticks since.

It was a harsh demotion and Young was made to be a bit of a scapegoat after the heavy loss, even though he was not at fault for any of the goals conceded. His side’s sloppiness trying to build the ball out from the back was what cost them the game at AAMI Park.

The past month has shown the Roar’s defensive woes were not down to Young and if anything, his absence has highlighted how much of an impact has had on his team’s success this season.

He didn’t just fill in well for Theo while he was injured, he began to show the league just how good he was. Before he was pushed down to the bench he was quickly gaining confidence and starting to establish himself as one of the competition’s finest custodians. The mistakes of the past were getting rarer and rarer.

Aloisi has hailed the talent of both of his senior keepers throughout the season but gave particular praise to Young following his man of the match performance in the win over the Glory in the first game of the new year.

“At one-on-ones he’s one of the best in the league,” he said.

“The way we play, sometimes we might get caught in behind and it’s good to have someone who can save those one-on-one chances.”

Playing behind a precarious high line Young bailed his defence out on a number of occasions this campaign, using his quick-thinking and big frame to deny clear goal scoring chances after coming off his line.

Since his return to the side Theo has conceded 13 goals in his past five games. While he obviously hasn’t been at direct fault for all of them, since coming back he hasn’t looked at his best.

He isn’t as convincing when faced with shots, he hasn’t had a strong command of his area and on the back of a couple of thrashings, his organisation must come into question too.

The statistics illustrate how much more impressive Young has been much this season. He’s saved more than three quarters of the shots thrown at him (75.4%) compared to Theo saving just over half (57.1%).

Young also makes more saves every game (3.3) than his counterpart (2.9). Perhaps most importantly, Young has let in 14 goals in his 13 games while Theo has conceded 15 in his seven starts.

Nothing can take away what Michael Theo has achieved in his Hyundai A-League career, particularly with the Roar, but it may be time for him to step down and let Jamie Young continue his rise.

On the back of his new two year deal, Young’s future is in Brisbane and he has proven himself to be more than capable of being the club’s number one for the foreseeable future.

Theo stepping down from the throne and Young taking his place could prove to be the difference for Brisbane Roar come the end of the season. To see more action, you can find the latest football odds by William Hill online, including for the Hyundai A-League and the rest of the teams.

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Lochy McIvor
Brisbane Roar and Tottenham Hotspur supporter. Jesus would have played in the hole. Follow me at @lochymci

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