'History has been made': Three things we learned - Western United vs City
It was almost written in the stars the way that last night's match played out. We had proper football, uncertainty, nervousness, and elation, all packed into 90 minutes.
Welcoming our Premiers back to Melbourne from the North End as the 'away' team, our City faithful were in good spirits as Jamie Maclaren wasted little time getting on the scoresheet early in the first half. Tom Glover and his defence held up nicely from the outset, prior to ex-City boy Dylan Pierias finding himself one-on-one with a well-timed touch in the box, levelling the score.
City's dominance continued into the second half, while Glover swept up the loose Western United chances as they rarely came. Matthew Leckie then showcased his World Cup class with a strong touch and deft pass ahead of Jamie Maclaren, who sliced it past Jamie Young to go 2-1 up.
Soon after, Marco Tilio pulled off a wonderful touch around his marker to release Andrew Nabbout, putting it on a platter for Maclaren who was unable to finish due to an unbelievable block from Nikolai Topor-Stanley. He could not miss on the second attempt after a guided ball onto Leckie's head was saved into Maclaren's path, who became the outright leading goal scorer in A-Leagues history.
With such meaning behind this game, let's get into the three things we learned:
Knocking down the records
This month has been incredible. First, we became Premiers for the third consecutive year, being the first A-League Men's side to do so. Then, Jamie Maclaren - almost sounding like it could be read from a script - scored a hat-trick to become the league's leading goal scorer. Finally, in the same game, our City boys have cracked 50 points for the first time, now on 52 points and a massive 11 points ahead of second place (prior to Adelaide United playing today).
This reads to be an incredible season, really depicting what amazing strides our football club has made in recent years to make this happen. Prior to 2017, we had no 'real' club legends. By 'real', I mean contributing factors like a large number of appearances in our kit, silverware, and/or a proper connection to the club. Now, you could say we have multiple, including Jamie Maclaren, outright top goal-scorer for the club and the league, and Scott Jamieson, outright top in club appearances.
It is a testament to what works in terms of a footballing formula; you simply cannot chop and change your squad each season and expect results.
We have built a solid foundation, and now history has been made.
Better get the best out of Bos
We've all seen the rumours regarding Jordan Bos, and whether or not he will be playing for us next season. No matter what happens, we've witnessed the beginning of a fabulous career.
Reason for bringing this up now is that, at only 20 years of age, Bos has won two Premiers Plates, been capped for the Socceroos and lifted his defensive output while increasing results in the final third. To me, this spells a generational player. His performance against Western United last night just adds to that confidence.
His ability to make the right decisions in such compact spaces is astounding, and when the youngster does make a mistake, you can witness his determination to make up for it while also pulling his teammates back for cover.
If we are to get a fee out of Jordy Bos, it best be in the millions.
Safety at the back
Between last season and this season, Tom Glover's uplift has been absolutely staggering. At stages, the young goalkeeper made a few too many mistakes last season, but he has certainly turned that around in 22/23.
Many rival fans on #SokkahTwitter will be seen writing his performances off after seeing a few mistakes he has made in the past, but if Glover keeps up this level of improvement, we could hold onto a very handy keeper for as long as he would like to continue winning silverware.
Against Western United, 'Super Tom' made five saves, totaling a save percentage of 83.3%*. This season, he has mastered a save percentage of 72%*, becoming the third-best keeper in the league upon that statistic.
In Tom, we trust!
*Statistics are from FBRef.com, accessed 23/04.