The second round of the A-League Men has been run and done. It was a wonderful week for Melbourne City & the Western Sydney Wanderers, as they remain the only two sides with perfect records in the top flight of Australian men's football.
Melbourne City opened the round with a 2-0 victory away to Brisbane Roar. Goal machine Jamie Maclaren found the back of the net yet again as the reigning Premiers would go to the top of the standings. That’s where they would stay when the round wrapped up.
The Western Sydney Wanderers secured a shock away victory over Melbourne Victory, with their defence stoic. The Wanderers have started the season nicely and could very well be there or thereabouts come to the end of the season if they keep this form up.
The most entertaining fixture was between Central Coast Mariners and Wellington Phoenix. Played across the Tasman, the game notched up a gear in the second half with three goals in ten minutes. The Phoenix opened the scoring through Ben Waine before Mariners duo Samuel Silvera and Jason Cummings scored two in rapid fashion to put the Mariners ahead 2-1. A late own goal broke Mariners hearts as they had to settle for a point.
Macarthur FC settled for a counter-attacking approach against Adelaide United, and United will still wonder how they didn’t find the back of the net. The Bulls had an ace up their sleeve however, in Daniel Arzani. The Socceroos hopeful dominated proceedings, scoring one goal and assisting another before almost putting the most audacious free kick in the back of the net in the second half.
Elsewhere, Sydney FC continued Western United’s horrific beginning to their title defence by securing a 3-1 victory. Although it is early days, this home defeat will have John Aloisi concerned about the way his side capitulated.
Finally, there was a victory for the ten-man Newcastle Jets to celebrate their delayed start to the season with a win over the hapless Perth Glory. Jordan Elsey went from hero to villain after opening the scoring on the hour mark, then getting sent off not fifteen minutes later. It mattered not, even after Perth had equalised from the spot with just 20 minutes to play. Jaushua Sotirio came off the bench with a magnificent cameo which ended with him putting in a perfect pass to Beka Mikeladze to secure the points for the Jets.
That’s the rundown of what occurred this week. Now let’s get on to the serious business of Edge of the Crowd’s A-League Men’s Team of the Week…
GK - FILIP KURTO (Macarthur FC)
Kurto was a man possessed between the Macarthur Bulls' goal in their victory over Adelaide United. The Macarthur gloveman made five saves to hand his side a clean sheet against a rampaging Adelaide attack.
RB - CARL JENKINSON (Newcastle Jets)
Former Arsenal and Melbourne City right-back Carl Jenkinson makes the TOTW at right-back this week. He was solid defensively, but it was his assist for the Jets' opening goal that got him the nod in this week’s team.
CB - MARCELO (Western Sydney Wanderers)
The 35-year-old Brazilian has been a rock at the back in his first two starts for Western Sydney, and another clean sheet is further proof of that. He backs up his round one selection with another EOTC TOTW nomination.
CB - TOMISLAV MRCELA (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Marcelo’s defensive partner, Tomislav Mrcela just about outshined the Brazilian this week. Not only was brilliant defensively, his mazy run and lucky deflected finish secured the only goal of the match against the highly-rated Melbourne Victory.
LB - IVAN VUJICA (Macarthur Bulls FC)
Vujica makes the TOTW the week for the second time running. Last week it was his marauding runs down the left flank that get him on the team. This week it was his defensive capabilities that saw him selected as he was part of a miserly Macarthur FC back line that refused to let Adelaide score.
RM - JAUSHUA SOTIRIO (Newcastle Jets)
As far as cameos go, they get little better than the one Jaushua Sotirio had against Perth Glory. Coming on the pitch right after his team had been reduced to ten men and conceded an equaliser, Sotirio was a constant menace for Perth’s defence. It paid off right at the death as he led the fast break and laid on the assist for the winning goal.
CM - CALEM NIEUWENHOF (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Calem Nieuwenhof was brilliant in the centre of the park for the Western Sydney Wanderers. At just 21 years old, he was one for the future. Oliver Bozanic’s injury has presented him with an opportunity to prove he is one for right now. With technical skills and composure well beyond his years, Nieuwenhof could just be a star in the making.
CM - PATRICK YAZBEK (Sydney FC)
20-year-old Patrick Yazbek could have gone into his shell when Josh Risdon’s shot took a heavy deflexion off of him to hand Western United the lead. He didn’t however, and showed a temperament far beyond his 20 years of age to help get his team back into the match and eventually win. Looks to be a favourite of Sydney FC coach Steve Corica.
LM - DANIEL ARZANI (Macarthur FC)
The commentator for this one called it the Daniel Arzani show. And he wasn’t wrong. The Socceroos' World Cup hopeful was everywhere, scoring in the first half before setting up Lachie Rose for the second. Desperately unlucky not to score a sublime free-kick and is our pick for the Player of the Round.
ST - JAMIE MACLAREN (Melbourne City)
More goals. One from the penalty spot, and one from open play for good measure. I said last week that Jamie Maclaren would likely spend a lot of time in the TOTW this year. He is another who backs up from last week’s TOTW and if Melbourne City stays atop the A-League Men standings, I think he will appear in many more before this season is over.
ST - JASON CUMMINGS (Central Coast Mariners)
The Central Coast Mariners striker is something else. He scored an outstanding bicycle kick goal that was ruled out for offside, but he didn’t let that deter him. When Cummings did score, it was a delicious lob that left Phoenix keeper Oliver Sail with no chance. There has been talk of him being desperate to prove he is the best striker in the A-League Men competition. If that is the case, we are in for one hell of a season with the two strikers in this week’s TOTW battling it out for that honour.