Victory looks for Chidiac replacement against Adelaide
Life without Alex Chidiac begins for Melbourne Victory on Sunday and their coach says only a team-wide lift can fill that gaping hole.
Matilda Chidiac could hardly have been more influential in her loan stint from her American parent club, scoring six goals and making five assists to clearly stand out as Victory's most potent attacking threat.
Heading into Sunday's Pride Cup clash with Adelaide United, Victory coach Jeff Hopkins said it wasn't as simple as asking one player to pick up the slack created by her departure.
"She was totally outstanding on the field and off the field with us and we definitely will miss her," he said.
"But we understand that we've got to get on with things ... what we're looking for now is for not just one or two players, but the whole team to step up and just give us one or two per cent more.
"If they can find that hopefully the team will grow and the opportunities 'Chids' is leaving gives certain players (the chance) to be taken up and make us a better team in the long term."
Some of the attacking load will fall to American striker Catherine Zimmerman who made her first start in more than two months last time out, while Melina Ayres played a half-hour cameo off the bench in her first game back from a hamstring injury.
But Victory will need to find a lift from somewhere, having won just one of their last three outings and slipping to a 1-1 draw with Brisbane in their latest game.
It's left them fourth on the table and just five points clear of Canberra United, who also have a game in hand in the race for finals.
"Over the next few weeks, we're up against teams that are in and around us, we've got three or four mini mini finals," Hopkins said.
"So it's great when you've got the best players available, it's great when your best players have been involved in some of the big wins that we had last year ... you've got that experience to bring to the side as well.
"(Adelaide will) come out very well prepared, they're in a position now where they really need to win. I think we might come up against quite a desperate side."