Melbourne City will be looking to maintain their perfect pre-season record as the boys are faced with an FFA Cup Round of 16 fixture against historic New South Wales-side, Marconi Stallions.
The in-form Stallions were able to secure an NPL NSW Finals-berth on the back of another characteristically solid season, despite the proud club going down 1-0 to league-winners Wollongong Wolves in the last round of the season.
As for City, our most recent pre-season fixture was a behind-closed-doors match against Adelaide United, which we were able to come away from with the 1-0 victory thanks to an early Jamie Maclaren header.
With the City boys preparing for Marconi tomorrow night, here’s our top three storylines ahead of our Round of 16 clash.
Diversity in attack
Coming into this clash against Marconi, the team have maintained a perfect pre-season record having won all four of our matches against Oakleigh, Campbelltown, Bentleigh and Adelaide United, conceding an acceptable total of four goals along the way.
With City having found the back of the net 11 times so far, one of the most impressive aspects of the team’s preseason performances has been its spread of goalscorers; Jamie Maclaren is in exciting form with four goals from four games, Craig Noone’s scored two belters, whilst FIVE other City players have gotten their names on the scoresheet.
We’ve demonstrated the ability to score from a variety of attacking situations, so it will be interesting to see whether these promising offensive displays continue in this upcoming competitive fixture, and whether Javier Cabrera and Florin Berenguer can be added to that list of goalscorers soon.
The midfield combination
The impressive form of 19-year-old Connor Metcalfe has probably been the talking point for City fans throughout the pre-season. Demonstrating his abilities to serve as a capable box-to-box midfielder, Metcalfe’s form has created a bit of a selection dilemma when it comes to filling the midfield spots.
With Josh Brillante considered to be a guaranteed starter by many, the issue presents itself when considering who might best fill the other two positions.
Metcalfe faces competition from Berenguer and Griffiths for the other central midfield spot, whilst Berenguer, Cabrera and Luna are all capable of stepping into the more advanced ‘10’ role.
Discussing the issue on last week’s podcast, the Talking City panel backed Metcalfe to start alongside Brillante, whilst Berenguer would be their preferred CAM, pushing Luna onto the right wing (Noone on the left), with Cabrera the one to potentially miss out on a starting berth.
Beyond the Round of 16
The incredible results of the FFA Cup Round of 32 saw the elimination of three current powerhouse A-League clubs, with Victory, Sydney and Perth all failing to progress through to the next round. Additionally, Wellington Phoenix’s shock loss to NPL side Brisbane Strikers means that, along with City, only one other of last year’s top six league teams (Adelaide) remains in this year’s cup competition.
If City were to avoid a slip-up against Marconi this Wednesday night, we could potentially be heading into a Quarter-Finals which consists of a maximum of four other A-League teams.
A victory over the Stallions would ensure that our perfect run of pre-season form is maintained, whilst positioning us perfectly to go into the next round full of confidence, regardless of our opposition. It’s optimistic speculation at this point, but an FFA Cup title would be a much-welcomed statement of intention from Erick Mombaerts in his first season at City.
If you’re interested in heading over to support the boys at Marconi Stadium, the Melbourne City Travelling Fans group have organised a pregame event at Club Marconi from 4:30pm onwards.
Melbourne City are set to face Marconi Stallions in this FFA Cup Round of 16 clash held at Marconi Stadium in New South Wales on Wednesday, August 21. Kick-off is at 7:30pm.