'Unstoppable': Three things we learned - City vs Western United
The Rado Vidosic era is well underway, and could you ask for much more? Absolutely emphasising the positive football that our club likes to play, we had the league Champions on the run from the outset, scoring a wonderful three goals in the opening 24 minutes.
A Marco Tilio masterpiece began the goal-scoring offensive, picking up the ball from the halfway line. The Socceroo proved his quality, seemingly having the ball glued to his foot, turning his defender inside-out before passing into the net beyond a forlorn Jamie Young.
It didn't take long for Leo Lacroix to double his tally for City, as he scored his second own-goal for the season with a wonderful back-heel. To finish the scoring in the first half, Tilio found Jamie Maclaren in acres of space before he too slid the ball into the back of the net, extending his goal-scoring streak to a monstrous 10 games.
The boys went into game-management mode, awaiting the substitutes that would eventually pick up the attacking slack yet again, with Andrew Nabbout darting behind the defence for a quick touch and chip to make it 4-0 in the 84th minute. Unstoppable.
With so many positives, here are the three things we learned from the thrashing of the Champions:
A force to be reckoned with
Football as a sport is incredible, not only because of its beautiful nature, but also due to how much it takes for things to click. We've seen some fantastic squads on paper in this league, but how many actually have the cohesion and comprehension of the game to pull it all together on the pitch?
This squad has exactly that. Be it the wonderfully deft touches between Richard van der Venne and Jamie Maclaren in the final goal, or even just the faultless passing between the lines from Curtis Good, our City boys are all working towards the same goal. It is this understanding of our game plan that seemingly makes us such a difficult challenge to opposing sides - especially when we're on.
We were certainly on last night.
If we continue the form that we are in, league chasers Central Coast and Western Sydney will have an incredibly tough time catching up to the lead we've built so far.
Let Rado steer the ship
Obviously not a long-term solution, but with the disruption this season has had, why shake it up even more? Vidosic has so far shown he and his squad can bounce back from adversity (the Sydney loss) to come back even stronger, winning in tough conditions, away from home, and even thrashing the reigning Champions.
In terms of game management, there was not much I would change in the substitutions and the times at which they occurred, especially Nabbout's introduction as the game lacked a bit of final-third finesse with our wingers beginning to tire. With Scott Jamieson coming on, allowing Jordan Bos to move forward, this also enabled our midfield to look for differing options in the attack.
With Des Buckingham signing a two-year extension with sister club Mumbai City, the equation does not seem as simple as it once had. While we would have loved to see a permanent coach slot straight into the void left by Patrick Kisnorbo, it may be smart to let the season run its course and allow Rado the opportunity to flex his guns.
Any manager who knows how to utilise the bench is good in my book.
Keep Tilio at all costs
This may be seemingly impossible after every incredible performance that the young Socceroo produces, but Tilio is an absolute star and must be kept at all costs. Of course, we understand that Europe will come knocking at some point, but hopefully later rather than sooner.
Marco is turning out to be a revolutionary player in this league, displaying his ridiculously close control week-in, week-out, furthering the argument that technical ability should be prioritised in Australian systems. When will we as a nation begin to realise that this incredible skill is what is needed to create those spectacular moments that many see in the European leagues? Tilio showcased many of those moments last night.
If you ask me, the 21-year-old is ready for Europe. When he moves across is only up to him. Let's just hope we get to see yet another trophy in his hands before that happens.
Next, we move on to the chasing Wanderers. Put goals up against them and we'll advance to a nine-point lead over second-placed Mariners. Come on City.