Melbourne Victory’s hopes of playing finals football have been all but dashed after old foes Sydney FC rode a dominant second half to a 4-1 win and made it three wins from three in the 2019/20 Big Blue series.
Will Elvis Leave The Building?
Without a doubt, Elvis Kamsoba’s journey to the A-League has been a feel-good story.
Moving from the South Australian NPL to Victoria’s in an effort to attract the attention of A-League scouts, the former refugee was able to parlay standout campaigns with Melbourne Knights and Avondale FC into a contract with Melbourne Victory.
A regular starting place with the four-time A-League champions, an international call-up for Burundi and a first goal for Victory – against Bali United in the 2020 Asian Champions League – then followed.
Unfortunately for Kamsoba, that goal against the Indonesian champions is remarkable not just for being his first goal, but for also being his only goal in a Victory shirt.
The 23-year-old has played 34 A-League games since he first joined Victory but, in that time, hasn’t registered a single goal for his club.
Of course, this profligacy can’t be observed wholly in a vacuum.
Robbie Kruse’s injury has placed an increased burden on Kamsoba by not only by forcing him to attempt to replace the Socceroo attacker’s production but also through robbing him – and the rest of Victory for that matter – of a much-needed reference point.
An inability of the likes of the much more highly credentialled and paid Toivonen and Andrew Nabbout across the length of the season has also meant that Kamsoba’s lack of production has been more noticeable as it has more often come in moments were Victory really needed it.
Any criticism of him must take this account.
But, nonetheless, the lack of offensive production for a side chasing finals football is one that can’t be excused forever.
“All the players have opportunities, all the players have time,” Salvachúa said when asked about Kamsoba.
“But we have to find a solution. If Elvis is not playing we have to find who can play in that position, the same as who we have to find who can play in the position of [the suspended] Hoogland next week.”
Stick a fork in Melbourne Victory?
Much had been made of Victory seemingly saving their season with their 2-1 win over Adelaide United in round 20, Andrew Nabbout’s late winner celebrated as keeping them in the finals race, but tonight's defeat may just draw a line through Victory’s season.
Though they remain a mathematical chance to play finals football – sitting just seven points back of sixth-placed Western United – perhaps only the most ardent of Victory fans would contend that they remain an even outside chance of actually crashing the finals party.
“We’ll see, talking about numbers,” Salvachúa said. “We will see what happens.
“But now we miss players [Hoogland and Gallifuoco] for the next game, and it will be more difficult then it was 45 minutes ago.”