No Maclaren, no worries for high-scoring City

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For most clubs losing your star striker to a multi-week injury would stifle your ability to score goals consistently.

That isn’t the case for Melbourne City who have found new avenues to goal, scoring even more prolifically since sharpshooter Jamie Maclaren suffered a hamstring injury in round three against Western United.

Up to that point Maclaren had been the hero for City, booting all four of their A-League goals including the miraculous game winner in the 85th minute of the derby.

Maclaren also slotted six goals in the FFA Cup, along with four goals in two internationals for Australia.

In the two games since his injury six different players have scored for City; Connor Metcalfe, Scott Galloway and Craig Noone against Wellington Phoenix last week and Curtis Good, Adrian Luna and Rostyn Griffiths against Central Coast Mariners overnight.

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After the 3-1 win over Central Coast, midfielder Connor Metcalfe was proud of the team’s ability to cover the absence of the star forward.

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“It goes to show if one of our players are out we have the players to back him up and do his role,” he said.

Metcalfe set up a goal for Adrian Luna after a penetrating run down the left side, followed by a thumping cross to the surging Luna who found the back of the net.

“It’s what I like doing, making runs forward,” he said.

Head coach Erick Mombaerts was full of praise for Luna, whose goal was his first in City colours.

“I’m very happy because he’s always good, his collective attitude is good,” he said.

“He works hard. Very hard.

“I hope scoring this goal will increase his confidence to do more.”

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Overall the team created 23 shots on goal in their win over the Mariners – a collective effort which also pleased the coach.

“It’s not only about one player, its more collective,” Mombaerts said.

“Now we know that we can score with Jamie [Maclaren], we can score with Luna, we can score with Metcalfe, we can score with our defenders.

“We couldn’t achieve a good result if we only have one striker.

“Jamie was not there. The previous game we don’t have Harrison [Delbridge], but we find solution[s]” he said.

The spread of goal scorers City has found in the past two matches will create one of the deepest and most threatening forward groups when Maclaren does return.

Moreover the team’s ability to succeed in his absence shows their adherence to the coach’s game plan, which will hold them in good stead going forward.

“At this moment I’m very happy because the players respect our game play,” said Mombaerts.

“Especially if we don’t have [all] our players. Their attitude is very good.”

City will play their first game outside of Victoria in round six with a trip to Brisbane next Sunday.

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Michael Patane
Student at Monash University and lover of all things football covering Melbourne City in 2019/20.