'We came, we conquered': Three things we learned - Perth vs City
An entertaining 90 minutes at Perth Glory's Macedonia Park 'fortress' saw our City lads take home all three points as creativity reigned supreme in our attacking moves.
The affair was tightly contested in the beginning, with the deadlock broken by an absolute wonder-goal by youngster Jordan Bos, a strike which will certainly be turning European heads.
Not long after, Tom Glover's misread flight of a free-kick from a narrow angle saw Jack Clisby level the game prior to half-time.
In the second half, Perth again came out firing up until Mathew Leckie ran through on goal, only to be taken down by Darryl Lachman who subsequently gave away a penalty and copped a red card for good measure. The penalty was left in the capable hands of Valon Berisha, who made no mistake in opening his account for the club.
For the second time of the night, an ex-City player scored to level things up as David Williams rose high to head the ball home.
It proved fruitless in the end as Mathew Leckie had other ideas, scoring a bicycle kick after an unconvincing punch from the Glory keeper. Florin Berenguer put the cherry on top, sliding home a lovely finish into the bottom corner after a great run from Leckie.
A 4-2 win away from home, but what are the three things we learned? Let's go over them below:
We need to prepare for change
If there is any chance of a negative out of this season, it would be this: maybe, just maybe, we're playing too well.
I'm unsure if it is simply bias or not, but I would say this is the best squad we've seen in the A-League. Not only individually, but the way we play is just unreal. And it is right in our backyard... for now.
The rumour mill will be spinning over the next few months, as it already has, with Mathew Leckie, Aiden O'Neill, Jordan Bos and Marco Tilio all being linked with moves overseas. In this case, we really need to prepare for change, which I am sure Rado Vidosic will have at the top of his priorities.
We've had players leave in the past, but not to the extent that we may see this season just due to the sheer quality that could definitely make a mark in Europe next season. Our recruitment should not falter though; who wouldn't want to come to Melbourne City at this point? We just need to make the right signings.
We came, we conquered
Perth has played some outstanding football out of their fortress at Macedonia Park this season, even last night, but it was no match for our City-branded football.
Our lads played their hearts out, taking on the game and making the most of the chances. This is a massive testament to how Rado is running this squad, as he recently mentioned after the Roar game that "[the squad believes] we can have more than one way of penetrating and creating goalscoring opportunities". How about that? Last night we had a curling effort from just inside the box, a penalty, a bicycle kick, and a walk-the-ball-in move. I'm starting to think this bloke knows ball.
Though we broke down the Macedonia Park walls and came away with three points, it was fantastic to see our boys play in a proper purpose-built football stadium (a sold out one, too). One thing that the league can take from Perth is the ability to turn an average situation into a positive.
Is this something City could do in the future if our crowd numbers continue to stall at AAMI Park?
Signs of a proper squad
The boys have shown week in, week out that they are there for one another.
In terms of playing on the pitch, they work for each other in terms of completing their rotations, passing to feet, and working together, but we saw something quite beautiful last night.
Jamie Maclaren is only seven goals away from the league's all-time top goalscoring record, yet selflessly gave the penalty to Valon Berisha to get his first goal for the club. If that isn't leadership, sportsmanship, and the essence of being a top clubman, I don't know what is.
With this type of genuine bond within the playing squad, there is no wonder why we find ourselves eight points clear with a game in-hand; they're not only doing it for themselves, they're doing it for each other.
Our City boys will do it all again next Saturday when we face off with our rivals in the Melbourne Derby.
Let's go lads.