WHETHER Philippine Army is the real deal or not will be determined on Saturday when it squares off with top contender Loyola Meralco in the United Football League (UFL) at the Emperador Stadium in Mckinley Hill.
Bolstered by top Koreans from General Trias International, the Troopers impressed in their opening game Thursday when they thumped Socceroo, 4-0.
Now, the remaining military club in Division 1, which had been leaning on the defensive prowess of premier Pinoy goalkeeper Ed Sacapaño in the past, tries to sustain its offensive might as it takes to the field at 6:15 p.m. for their second match in three days.
But they face an acid test in Loyola Meralco, whose the players have been almost free from pressure after claiming the UFL Cup two months ago for their breakthrough silverware in the league.
And it obviously showed last Tuesday when the Sparks stunned fellow powerhouse Global FC, 4-0.
“Now that we finally won something, we can focus on our style of play, not having to have the burden of needing a championship,” Sparks coach Vince Santos said.
“We’re not as tight and everyone is a little bit more to express to themselves. We’re a little less stressful on each other,” he added. “It’s really a positive vibe, mentality that’s changing the way we’re playing.”
Phil Younghusband continues to spearhead the Sparks, but brother James Younghusband is out with a sprained ankle he suffered during a collision with Global’s Jeff Christiaens last Tuesday.
Global tries to bounce back from one of its worst beatings ever as it collides with Kaya in the nightcap at 8:30 p.m.
Kaya hopes to ride the momentum of its 2-1 victory over Pachanga-PLDT Home FIBR also last Tuesday.
“It will be an extremely difficult game,” Kaya coach David Perkovic admitted on Friday. “Global is a big club and will want to respond after the heavy defeat.”