Stars Duds of the Game
Inspiration: After each National Hockey League game — the local media votes for the ‘Three Stars of the Game’ — basically the Man of the Match — but as a treble! So in that spirt – normally we discuss Rangers Three Stars of the Game. But when you lose to a fourth-tier club with a roster mostly filled with university students – we must focus the attention to the Three Duds of the Game.
Star Dud: Bilel Mohsni – started well enough but as the match went on his concentration & execution began to wane. He looked confused on the first goal – vehemently blaming Lee Wallace’s positioning for the goal – so much so that Lee McCulloch walked over to put Mohsni in his place. It was not a surprise that the defence was perplexed as Ally McCoist used the first half to experiment with his tactics – fielding five defenders. McCulloch & Richard Foster appeared to play more as holding midfielders as Ian Black pushed up the pitch more. Whatever the alignment was – it was a mess. The Fusion’s second goal simply came down to lackadaisical defending as Mohsni allowed the player to sprint past him leaving Cammy Bell in a helpless position – one v. one with an onrushing Ronnie Argueta. Numerous giveaways & wayward passing crept back into Mohsni’s game as well. His goal was a reminder of his aerial prowess but it is difficult to overlook his poor play in this one.
Star Dud: Cammy Bell – it’s an exaggeration to blame Bell for any of the three goals as his defenders were completely out of sorts in front of him. However, Bell has done little to instill confidence in his capabilities. He simply does not take charge in the penalty area. This was epitomized on a corner early in the second half as he actually went to get the ball (something he rarely does) but was left flailing & barely slapping the ball away. He’s an excellent shot stopper but lacks the confident presence that an elite goalkeeper should have.
Star Dud: Lee Wallace – it is difficult to criticize Wallace but this was a poor performance on his part. Many of his runs up the left flank were handily dealt with as the Fusion players were not afraid to pressure Wallace – who is often given much more space in Scotland. This frustrated Wallace, which was seen on the harsh challenge that earned him a booking. It is difficult to truly know who was fault on the first goal – but Mohsni sure seemed to expect more help from Wallace on the play.
Richard Foster looked lost for most of the first half as he struggled to acquaint himself in the experimental formation. Once the team reverted back to a flat defensive alignment of four, he looked more comfortable. However, he did little to silent the calls for more competition for the right back job…Sebastien Faure’s dead giveaway off of a throw-in led to the third goal for the Fusion.
For the most part, Marius Zaliukas looked steady & comfortable in defence. He adds a composure that sometimes was lacking last season & looks to be a threat on set pieces…Kyle Hutton looked composed in his brief appearance & was a noticeable improvement in the midfield when he replaced Lee McCulloch in the 66th minute. McCulloch wasn’t bad, but Hutton was more effective in the role…David Templeton was the best player on the pitch vs. Ventura County. He played with a flare & confidence that was lacking in the first half from any Rangers player. He consistently looked to pierce the defence with visionary passes & nearly set up a second goal with a perfect cross that Kris Boyd ‘scuffled’ off the cross bar. Note: as an American, I have never used the word scuffled in my life, while the commentator for the match used it every five minutes. Go figure…