LOYOLA Meralco, which has recently become vulnerable on defense, tries to regain its bearings as it takes on Pasargad on Tuesday in the United Football League at the Emperador Stadium in Mckinley Hill.
After building a reputation last year as a top defensive team by conceding just two goals in eight games in their Cup conquest, the league-leading Sparks have become penetrable as of late with injuries ravaging the squad, including measles-stricken top center-back Joaco Cañas.
Cañas had formed a solid defensive tandem with Sam Bonney in the backline along with goalkeeper Baba Sampana.
“(Our backline has been) built on Sam and Joaco. With Joaco falling ill, we had to make adjustments,” said Sparks coach Vince Santos, who has fielded Yves Ashime in Cañas’ place.
The Sparks have now conceded 10 goals in 11 games so far. In their last game alone, they allowed three goals as Global eked out a 3-2 win that halted Loyola’s long undefeated run that dated back last September.
Fresh from their first loss in almost six months last Saturday, the Sparks hope to get back on the winning track and as they face the cellar-dwellers at 5:15 p.m.
Both squads are on opposite ends in the nine-team standings, with a victory for the Sparks creating some breathing room on top with second-running Global creeping up after coming within a point after the result last Saturday.
One constant for the Sparks has been their offense, led by Phil Younghusband, the second-leading scorer in the league with nine goals.
And the Sparks try to rain goals against a rusty Pasargad side that lost top defender Jaham Taher to Division 2 side Manila Jeepney in the transfer window.
Pasargad is also coming off break of more than two weeks, having last played February 20 when it lost to Philippine Army, 0-2.
Kaya FC, running third in the standings, tries to keep in step with the leaders as it faces Green Archers United in the nightcap at 7:30 p.m.
TWO legends from one of the world’s biggest football teams spice up the third and final edition of the Clear Dream Match as Manchester United greats Paul Scholes and Andy Cole join the celebrity all-star game on June 7.
After Fabio Cannavaro and Dennis Wise, it’s the turn of Scholes and Cole this year when Phil and James Younghusband settle the score once and for all after the celebrated brothers split the first two events.
Organizers have yet to finalize the venue of the match.
“This is the decider,” said James Younghusband, whose team, bolstered by the Italian legend Cannavaro won last year, 4-1, to avenge its 1-5 loss to Team Phil in 2012.
James and his brother said they don’t mind who between Scholes and Cole they get to play with this time, as both international booters have similarly put up established careers with the renowned English club.
The 39-year-old Scholes played for around two decades for Manchester United and is regarded as one of the best midfielders of his generation, hanging up his boots last year after coming out of retirement in 2012.
The 42-year-old Cole, on the other hand, has the second most goals in English Premier League history with 187 strikes after playing for numerous clubs, the most with Man U, where he suited up for six years.
Aside from the two international stars, the Younghusband brothers will have 16 players in each team from the top 50 United Football League players available for selection in the draft on May 10.
Online voting at cleardreammatch.com.ph started Monday and will end on May 6, according to Clear brand manager Drew Copuyoc.
Six lucky amateur players will also be chosen from the nationwide tryouts to be held in Davao, Cebu, Iloilo, as well as Manila for the charity match, proceeds of which will go once again to the Tuloy sa Don Bosco Foundation.
“Clear has done a good job in helping develop the sport in the country,” Phil Younghusband said.
A STALLION FC side that went a man down most of second half still proved a tough nut to crack against Kaya FC, forcing a goalless draw on Sunday night in the United Football League at the Emperador Stadium.
Azkals OJ Porteria and Anton del Rosario missed late chances for Kaya, which failed to take advantage of Stallion midfielder Ousseynou Diop's ejection early in the second half.
Kaya could've inched closer to the leaders after Global's 3-2 win over Loyola Saturday kept the UFL title race tight, but the third-running side just improved its point total to 20 points to stay five behind Global.
"That's why I always love to play against them, because it's always tough," said Stallions coach Ernie Nierras, whose team beat Kaya, 1-0, in the first round.
The second-round result hiked the Stallions' point sum to 12 to remain in sixth spot.
While admitting their performance left much to be desired, Kaya coach David Perkovic rued the officiating in the bruising match that saw numerous fouls that the Australian mentor felt merited yellow cards.
Paolo Salenga (NU)
Jaime Mulliken (Benilde Alumni)
Raffy Cabug (San Beda College)
Shaiyan Jafari (Union Internacional Manila, from Iran)
Patxi Santos (UP)
Hong Bo Sim (Korea)
Diego Barrera (Stallion , from USA)
Kennedy Ozoka (fil-Nigerian , UAAP)
Enzo Bonoan (Ateneo )
Pablo Arguelles Calles (Stallion , from Spain)
Federico Krause (Argentina)
Dexter Choi (FEU)
Stanley Ankrah (Ghana)
Ryan Mahhews (Canada)
Curt Dizon (Union Int Manila , fil-English)
Daisuke Dato (fil-Japanese)
Raul Martinez (Mexico)
German Rodriguez (Mexico)
FT-Forza FC 2-6 Ceres-La Salle FC
J.Johnson 21' 66'
Kyum Son 23sec
P.Reichelt 9' 36' 68'
De Murga 78' FT: Union IMFC 2-2 Agila FC
Fidelis Nnabuife- 10'(Union)
Ivan Meilan- 67'(Union)
Olayemi Bakare- 16', 50'(Agila) ------------------------------------------ FT: Phil Air Force FC 2-1 Manila All Japan FC
Antonio Albor- 10'
Ian Araneta- 30'
Genki Nakamura- 77' (penalty) FT- Nomads FC 2-1 Phil.Navy FC
Kerim Raeis 55'
Ahmed Hwedi 80'
Zana Traore 61' ------------------------------------------------- Div 1 : FT: Kaya FC 0-0 Stallion Gilligan's FC
FROM friends to foes, roles are set to be reversed as some Azkals return to mother clubs Kaya FC and Stallion when both teams face off in a rare Sunday playdate in the United Football League at the Emperador Stadium in Mckinley Hill.
After their national duty last week, OJ Porteria, Anton del Rosario, Chris Greatwich, Andrew Liauw, Nick O’Donnell, and Kenshiro Daniels of Kaya and the Stallions Ruben “Balot” Doctora Jr. and Simone Rota take their act back to the domestic league as both clubs collide at 8:30 p.m.
Kaya, running third in the nine-team standings, tries to keep in step with leaders Loyola and Global, while the fourth-running Stallions hope to keep alive whatever’s left of their title-retention bid.
Porteria, the dynamic teenage striker, will be up against a tough Stallion backline that is anchored by Rota, the Filipino-Italian defender who impressed in his Azkals debut.
“He’s got an abundance of talent and he’s starting to convert that talent into performances,” Kaya coach David Perkovic said of Porteria. “There are still a few weaknesses we have to work on him, but he’s got a fantastic attitude, and that’s why he’s come on leaps and bounds.
Doctora, for his part, will face a Kaya defense that has Azkals returnee Anton del Rosario and national team rookie Andrew Liauw.
The Stallions are also expected to field a significant addition from the transfer window in Senegalese holding midfielder Junior Gaye, whom coach Ernie Nierras raved about.
“Everybody has to learn from him. He’s a true holding midfielder,” Nierras said of Gaye, comparing him to compatriot and a Global FC offensive threat Izzo El-Habib. “Imagine Izzo as holding mid.”