A shortened A-League week with only four fixtures, as Perth Glory, Wellington Phoenix and Western Sydney Wanderers all enjoyed a week off. There was still plenty of action to make up for the lost game, Robbie Fowler’s first managerial win in the A-League came after a scintillating comeback to win 4-3 against league leaders Melbourne City.
Newcastle Jets enjoyed their first victory of the season too, upsetting newcomers Western United with a scrappy 1-0 win. Adelaide United continue to quietly rack up the wins, taking down the Central Coast Mariners, while the malaise continues for Melbourne Victory as they fell in the Big Blue derby to Sydney FC.
Here is a look at five standout performances from round six of the A-League.
J Mac is back, tell a friend.
Melbourne City fans would have been worried that he’d be a long term injury after going down early in the season, but he miraculously came back after only two weeks away to make the game against Brisbane Roar.
Not only is he making miracles off the pitch, he’s making them on it, too, with a hat-trick to go alongside his two braces already in the season. His tally is now seven goals in four games and he’s racing towards the golden boot.
What’s even more significant is that two of his goals on Sunday came from headers, a notoriously weak part of his game. If that’s where he’s worst, opponents will be afraid to find out what he’s best at.
It wasn’t enough on the day as the A-League gave us another wonderful treat with an exhilarating 4-3 to Brisbane, featuring a Roy O’Donovan hat trick himself, but it’s clear that Maclaren is head and shoulders above the rest of the league at the moment.
Maria has been quietly impressive since joining Adelaide, but Saturday was his time to steal the show as he ran amok upon the Mariners defence.
Gertjan Verbeek has entrusted the Curacaoan in several positions further up the field, however it’s clear now that playing as a left-back with permission to storm up the field is where Maria will excel.
With the space to drive at his opposition defender, Maria backs himself to get past his man, and that confidence was what led to Adelaide’s come from behind victory. For Adelaide’s first, Maria storms into the final third before laying it off for Ben Halloran who scored after a quick interchange with Riley McGree.
Adelaide’s second goal was even better as Maria deceived Jordan Murray to send him the wrong and then ran across the byline before squaring a pinpoint ball for Nikola Mileusnic to finish with aplomb.
Interestingly, even with Maria’s stupendous performance, Verbeek could be heard shouting instructions to him throughout the game. Perhaps the 24 year old’s coach thinks there is more to come from his game, which can only be good news for United fans.