Breaking down the potential Champions League squadPosted: February 17, 2015
Sometime this week, if they haven’t already, Brisbane will have to confirm their squad for the 2015 Asian Champions League group stage and any potential round of 16 tie.
Brisbane must name a squad of at least 18 and a maximum of 30, with space for foreign players + a foreign player from an AFC member confederation. In Brisbane’s only previous participation in 2012, the Roar named a squad of 25.
Today we’ll break down who is definitely going to be apart of it, who is likely and who probably wont be apart of the squad when it’s announced later this week.
For starters- all of the Australia A-League contracted players will be in the squad, which when including the three full-time National Youth League contracted players gives you a squad of 20.
As per the AFC’s 3+1 rule, Brisbane will be forced to choose between their five non AFC member confederation foreign players, with two unfortunately set to miss out. Despite gaining Australian citizenship last month, for the purposes of this years Champions League he still counts as a foreign player.
Obviously there are a number of factors which come into play when deciding which visa players to choose; including amongst others fitness, fit and need.
From an injury perspective, Solórzano – who is out for 2-3 weeks with a hamstring- and Henrique – who is close to retuning after 3 weeks out with a groin injury- have question marks over them.
When thinking about the fit in the squad, Polenz is a candidate to be left out given the numbers in the squad in his position, compared to other positions where there’s less depth.
When push comes to shove, marquee player Thomas Broich is a lock to be one of the three visa players, and the German will be pivotal to breaking down the Asian defences.
Henrique, after missing out on the 2013 qualifier against Buriram, is likely to be included this time around after his stellar form in the first half of the season despite his recent injury concerns.
Jerome Polenz is likely to be one of the two omitted, with Daniel Bowles and Jack Hingert able to deputise at right back.
If that ends up being the case, the final choice is upfront between Solórzano and Kaluderovic.
While both have their cases, I think it’s likely that new signing Kaluderovic will get the nod, purely because of the injury that Solórzano picked up on Friday night.
So after including the three visa players, the squad now sits at 23, but there are other players worthy of consideration in the youth squad- both for depth and experience.
For starters- a third goalkeeper will be required to be included to meet the criteria, so NYL first choice keeper Fraser Chalmers figures to be included in the squad.
Others who should for mine be included in the squad are Shannon Brady –who mad his debut against in the first team this season- and defender Lachlan Jackson who has excelled in the youth squad again this season.
The inclusion of Chalmers, Brady and Jackson would take the squad to 26, and then it’s a matter of if Brisbane wants to leave it at that, or fill the squad out with other youth team players for experience.
My guess is that they will leave it at 26, however if they do decide to fill the squad out, further players may include young left back Matt Schmidt who has been steady at left back in the NYL this season, in addition to young attackers Samuel Sibatuara and Abraham Yango.
Likely Brisbane Roar 2015 AFC Champions League squad
Goalkeepers: 1) Michael Theo, 21) Jamie Young, ??) Fraser Chalmers (y).
Defenders: 3) Shane Stefanutto, 5) Corey Brown, 13) Jade North, 14) Daniel Bowles, 15) James Donachie, 19) Jack Hingert, 26) Lachlan Jackson (y), 33) Luke DeVere.
Midfielders: 4) Adam Sarota, 6) George Lambadaridis, 8 ) Steven Lustica, 16) Devante Clut, 17) Matt McKay, 18) Luke Brattan, 22) Thomas Broich, 27) Ben Litfin (ft nyl), 29) Patrick Theodore (ft nyl).
Forwards: 9) Andrija Kaluderovic (fgn), 10) Henrique (fgn), 20) Kofi Danning, 23) Dimitri Petratos, 28) Brandon Borrello (ft nyl), 34) Shannon Brady (y).