Perth Glory showcase A-League title credentials, James Troisi sends a message to Graham Arnold
Rob Brooks delves into the highs and lows week four of the A-League as clubs prepare to take a back seat to international action in the week ahead.
Talking point of the weekend
Perth Glory finished the weekend top of the league following their 2-0 triumph over Adelaide on Sunday, signalling that Tony Popovic's men could well be the real deal this season.
Seen as a potential dark horse after bringing in the likes of Chris Ikonomidis and Jason Davidson over the offseason, Perth have started the campaign tremendously, going unbeaten in the first four rounds. The new signings have been integral to this fast start, as has striker Andy Keogh, who now has four goals in as many appearances.
What's more, there are no signs of Perth slowing down over the next few rounds. When the A-League resumes after next week's international break, the Glory will face Central Coast Mariners followed by Wellington Phoenix -- both sides particularly low on confidence after being comprehensively beaten by Melbourne Victory and City respectively this weekend.
Goal of the weekend
Brisbane clawed their way back to earn a 2-2 draw against Western Sydney in the regional town of Mudgee on Saturday after conceding twice without reply in the opening 17 minutes.
The comeback was sparked by a sublime strike from Spanish midfielder Alex Lopez. With very little movement happening in front of him, Lopez took matters into his own hands heading into half-time, as he skipped past a defender before ripping a right-footed thunderbolt into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
It was a much needed boost for Brisbane, who went on to equalise through Adam Taggart not long after the break once Lopez had shifted momentum back in their favour.
Save of the weekend
There may have been saves which were more technically complex over the course of the weekend, but for the impact on the result and importance to his team, Newcastle's Glen Moss has to get the nod here.
The Jets have started the season lacking the cutting edge which saw them reach the Grand Final last term. And that malaise looked to be setting in this week when they were down 1-0 for much of the game against Sydney FC -- largely due to a goalkeeping error from Moss.
It took a set-piece goal from an unlikely source in substitute Nick Cowburn to restore parity, but just as the game seemed to be swinging back in Newcastle's favour, the Sky Blues fashioned a one-on-one chance to Charles Lokolingoy.
Moss reacted superbly, spreading himself and getting a crucial deflection when it seemed a goal was inevitable, earning his team a 1-1 draw and atoning for his earlier gaffe.
Player of the weekend
James Troisi responded to his midweek snub by the national team with a first-half masterclass in Melbourne Victory's 4-1 thumping of the Mariners. Not only did the midfielder get himself on the scoresheet, his link-up play with Keisuke Honda and Terry Antonis was an absolute joy to watch.
The performance obviously wasn't enough to change things for the Socceroos' upcoming camp, but no doubt it made national team boss Graham Arnold take notice.
Disappointment of the weekend
Not that it should need to be said -- again -- but racism has no place in any part of society, including professional sport. That's why it's so heartbreaking that an incident with a spectator marred the Western Sydney vs. Brisbane game.
The spectator in question yelled at Roar goalkeeper Jamie Young, calling him a "monkey," to which Young responded with a few choice words of his own.
Of course, it's incredibly disappointing that this sort of thing still goes on, but to the credit of both clubs, a no tolerance stance was swiftly applied and the spectator was evicted from the premises and is now facing a lifetime ban from the game's governing body.
Silver lining of the weekend
Aside from the deplorable nature of the incident in Mudgee, Remembrance Round was well observed right across the league with services and a minute's silence before the games.
In what appeared to be a significant gesture of unification and goodwill, Japan international Honda kissed the poppy on his jersey after opening the scoring for Melbourne Victory.