In the movie Mighty Ducks 3 there was a scene where the coach of the Ducks got angry with them because they were cocky. They were very cocky because they can score goals and they think that this is the most important part of the game. The coach told them “How Long Does It Take It To Score A Goal, Less Than A Second, That Means No Lead Is Safe If You Can’t Play Defence, Now Get This Straight, I Want One Number On Your Mind ZERO As In Shutout.
I always associate this line with the Azkals.
People will tell me….”why are you a fan? e talunan naman sila” I just tell them for me if they do not win I always look at the quality of the game the was played. They may not win all of their games but they play quality games and they always play their hearts out.
Playing under not so ideal conditions……
For their game against the Malaysian Tigers I was there in Rizal Memorial Stadium to watch the game. I remember seeing the pitch and it was so dreadful. There were areas on the pitch that was bare. I can remember Neil trying to flatten the patch of dirt in front of goal post because it was so dry and had holes. James Younghusband trip there that was the reason why he fell down near the goal during the second half. Phil Younghusband and Misagh Bahadoran was also fixing the grass near the area where the corner kicks were made. There was a time when James slid to get possession of the ball and you can see that he slid on patch of dirt and had to check his knees for scrapes. But they still played on.
I always said that I like players who plays defense and I guess this is because of the line I quoted at the start of this blog. During the game against the U23 team of Australia I really thought that our defense was very very good. Jason Sabio has grown as a player and became a critical member of the team. Neil was able to save a lot of goals but there were still a few that got in. I was really impressed with our defense during the Malaysian Tigers. The saves made by Neil Etheridge were really good. Jason Sabio was again stellar in this game and so was Ray Jonsson. Lexton Moy also showed that he may be small in size but he is not afraid to block the ball if needed. I always said that if you put Anton Del Rosario, Rob Gier, Jason Sabio and Aly Borromeo inside the pitch as our back four and Neil Etheridge as the GK? No one will be able to penetrate our defense.
I found offense side to be a little lacking during the game against U23 team of Australia because Denis Wolf was sometime left alone to fend for himself instead of someone assisting him to make the goal. This is the time when I thought we should have let Doctora and Beloya come out and sink in some goals. The play between the Younghusband’s have always been a winner. The spectacular throw ins of Jason Sabio allowed us to goal like the one from Denis Wolf during the Malaysia Game and the most recent the goal of Phil Younghusband during the game against India. A lot of our players have shown their potential to score like Angel Guirado’s bicycle kick during the Malaysia Game.
In sheer skill alone I cannot complain….I was in the front row during the Malaysia Game and I saw how Angel Guirado was maneuvered the ball, his footwork was amazing and this also goes for Denis Wolf. Misagh Bahadoran’s dribbling was also amazing.
Room for Growth
I do believe that there are things that needs to improvement in our team. Like what Aly said during his commentary for the the game against North Korea, our players tend to get frantic and makes them lose focus and possession of the ball. Our national team is not also given the chance to practice together for us to be able to build cohesion with our plays. But we are heading for the right direction. We are starting to play short passes for us to be able to settle the battle lessening the chance for dispossession. We are playing smarter and safer now that helps build our confidence in the pitch.
So if you will ask me if I’m a fan of the Azkals…yes I am and I am proud to be one.