Philippine Daily Inquirer
BACOLOD CITY—A dose of overconfidence could spell disaster.
On the heels of two straight draws, the Philippine Azkals are expected not to take any chances when they face lower-ranked Guam today at Panaad Stadium here—the last of their three international friendly matches this month.
The Azkals go into the 7 p.m. match marking Independence Day as the overwhelming favorite because of their better ranking spiked by their recent run of impressive results.
But Guam’s English coach Gary White is unfazed by the Azkals’ credentials, saying they’re ready to go toe-to-toe with a home side aching to finally win after back-to-back draws against Malaysia and Indonesia.
“We know who their threats are and we’re not afraid,” said White, an English coach who has had stints handling the national teams of the US Virgin Islands and the Bahamas.
White, who only came aboard last February, admitted that his squad, mostly made up of US Division 1 players, is much like the Philippines “five years ago.”
Azkals coach Michael Weiss cautioned his side against taking Guam lightly.
“We respect them (Guam) and we will treat it like any match we have played,” said Weiss, who considers the match an important component of their preparations for the Suzuki Cup.
Phil and James Younghusband are expected to start against Guam, along with Neil Etheridge and Jerry Lucena as the Azkals hope to flash a more fluid attack that had gone missing in the first half against Indonesia.
The four came off the bench in the 2-2 draw against Indonesia where the Younghusband brothers scored a goal each to salvage the tie.
Denis Wolf could pair up with Phil Younghusband up front, while Paul Mulders remains hopeful to get the start after he was substituted at halftime against Indonesia because of an injury.
Guam has a player familiar with the Philippines’ side in Jonathan Romero, who plays club football for Kaya in the United Football League. Romero plays with Azkals Jason Sabio and Lexton Moy at Kaya.