A brilliant second half showing from Socceroos striker has helped Melbourne City secure their spot in the FFA Cup final with a 5-1 win against Brisbane Strikers at Perry Park.
Maclaren recovered from a knee niggle in the days before Tuesday's semi-final at Perry Park to score two and set up another in the win.
The former Hibernian front man took his tally for the tournament to six to guide 2016 winners City into their second FFA Cup decider.
Erick Mombaerts' team will face the winner of Wednesday's second semi-final between Central Coast and holders Adelaide in the final on October 23.
Aiming to become the first club from outside the A-League to reach an FFA Cup final the Strikers made a perfect start when red-hot striker Adam Pengelly notched his 52nd goal in all competitions this season.
Given space at the edge of the box, Pengelly arrowed a finish into the opposite corner past wrongfooted City goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis.
The strike sparked wild celebrations among the 3706 crowd, an atmosphere that couldn't have been any more different when City equalised on the half-hour.
Maclaren pinched the ball inside the Strikers' half and fed 19-year-old Connor Metcalfe, who calmly slotted his first senior goal past Bon Scott.
The City strike then put the visitors ahead three minutes into the second term when he got ahead of Strikers' defender Matt Richardson to poke home Florin Berenguer-Bohrer's knockdown from inside the six-yard box.
Some heroic saves from Scott prevented a complete rout but Uruguayan import Javier Cabrera came off the bench to score in the 62nd minute before Maclaren notched his second in the 80th minute.
Right-back Scott Galloway then iced the win with a thumping right-foot finish in stoppage time which gave the impressive Scott no chance.
Mombaerts praised the Strikers for their attacking endeavour in the first half and said despite the comprehensive result, his team still has to improve before they begin their A-League campaign against crosstown rivals Melbourne Victory on October 12.
"I'm not so happy about our performance today," Mombaerts said.
"Yes we won 5-1; we created a lot of opportunity but I expect better defensively.
"It's a good start but it's important to stay calm."
Disappointed Strikers coach Owen Baker admitted the scoreline had been hard to take but took pride in his team being the last NPL club standing in the Cup.
"Nobody likes losing ... to score the goal first was a great moment for the team and the players," Baker said.
"Obviously Melbourne City are a good team, they're full of quality players and they're getting close to their A-League season and I think that showed tonight."