Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Azkals vs The Matao, The showdown at Panaad

If you didn't know who the "Matao" are, think back at the Azkals 3-4 years ago and think Guam. They are also a team much like the Philippines a few years back struggling to wake up from a soccer nightmare. For sure they aren't a team who will keep you up at night, but I'm sure that's how former Vietnam coach Henrique Callisto felt about us in 2010 too.

The June friendlies so far have been entertaining to say the least. Perhaps cautious optimism on my part had me prognosticating a draw against Malaysia and a 1-0 win against Indonesia. I came out with a 50-50 record with my guesses and the actual results against south east Asian soccer powerhouse teams Malaysia and Indonesia weren't at all bad. After all, it takes years to really be relevant in soccer wherever it may be in this world and we've only been at it really in the last 2!

Patti Mallari at lifesmytrip.com Thank You for the pic!
I am glad the people of Bacolod(and yes Manilenyos they are the true soccer fanatics, having never lost it even after the domination of Basketball in the Philippines), will be able to again see and feel the Azkals playing on their "true" home pitch. 

 It's too bad we lost out on the June 8th FIFA friendly date, it could have been another game our Azkals "B" teamers can get some action even against teams like Taiwan or Timor Leste. Just sayin'...

This is the roster released by the "official" Azkals website:

Goalkeepers: Neil Etheridge, Eduard Sacapano, Patrick Deyto

Defenders: Rob Gier, Jason Sabio, Carli de Murga, Roxy Dorlas, Jerry Lucena, Dennis Cagara

Midfielders: James Younghusband, Misagh Bahadoran, Angel Guirado, Anto Gonzales, Patrick Reichelt, Jason De Jong, Paul Mulders, Marwin Angeles, Lexton Moy, Jeffrey Christiaens

Strikers: Denis Wolf, Philip James Younghusband, Ian Araneta, Mario Javier Clarino 

More roster prognosticating:

Seeing that we have never had such greater depth at the forward position but with Denis and Phil available I'd love to see the team revert back to the old tried and tested 4-4-2. Considering our back four could probably contain any attack sent forth by the Matao's. Maybe a 4-4-2 diamond formation for that extra defensive presence.

The defense: As you can see there isn't any depth here whatsoever and that perfectly fine for the Coach. I don't think it is but he's the coach I'm the guy in the stands. I'd start with a Carli-Sabio-Gier-Cagara line. Not only will the wingers be quick but also an offensive presence.

The midfield: Lots of choices here but here is the lineup I would start, JamesYh-Mulders(CAM)-Lucena(HM)-Christiaens. There I said it! No Angel. Frankly he deserves to start in any tourney we play but I also don't like the way he hogs the ball much of the time. The word touch pass does not exist in his vocabulary and I really want to know what Mulders can offer when he is given the generalship at center attacking mid AND without someone dominating the ball like Angel. Lucena at holding mid, because he is better than Moy, de Jong, Marwin at this point in his career.

Forward position: Phil and Denis! No doubt Phil should be the lead striker and Denis the supporting striker. I've said it before, Denis is much more active on defense while Phil tends to lay back a little so it should all work out. There is no doubt the Guamanian defense will be severely tested by the former Chelsea trained player and the older Bundesliga veteran.

Jeffrey Christiaens
There you have, whats churning in Wiking's head. While I won't be looking for an 8-0 scoreline like one of our neigbours, ehem, I'd be happy with a, say 3-0 scoreline. Why? Because I expect to see Deyto, Christiaens, Dorlas and a few of the others get caps in preparation for the Long Teng Cup 2012(If we get invited again). Lets make it a worthwhile game for new player development too shall we Coach Weiss?
P. Deyto. Pic from brosigonsalez.blogspot.com

Im glad my fave Bob Guerrero(or is he?) will be again doing play-by-play for the Azkals but seriously, Bob? No more Sonny Cagara brother of Dennis Cagara, Youtube, Jason Mraz fillers please! You've said that each and every time Dennis plays for the national team! How about this, something new you can use: 

Manny Ott: Finally got a 2 year contract extension from FC Ingolstadt. His brother Mike is a youth league super star that the Azkals already contacted for the youth team but he couldn't commit because of schedule conflicts.I'll do a feature on him someday soon.
Mike Ott, see the resemblance?

Dennis Cagara: Was recently let go by FSV Frankfurt even though he started a few games. He is a free agent at this time.

Jerry Lucena: Jerry's natural position before he started playing for AGF Aarhus was Center Mid. He only started playing RB for them because it was the only position open where he could start. Lucena has definite skills!

Denis Wolf: Has scored a goal in the Bundesliga for Hannover 96. Wasn't resigned by 1.FC Magdeburg. Is a FREE AGENT, hello UFL?. And see pic below on the right, you know who she is don't you?By the way, this isn't the first time.

Paul Mulders: Played a long time in the Dutch Eerste division(2nd tier) and was only elevated to the Eredivisie at the very ripe age of 30! This is a very very rare occurrence as 1st tier team mostly get younger players. Before playing for ADO Den Haag, he scored 5 goals as a CM with AGOVV Apeldoorn.

Paul Mulders
I've got more for ya Bob, just let me know  :)

Lastly, Happy Belated Birthday to Dan "the Man" Palami, truly without you and your cohorts none of this will be at all possible! Thank You!


  1. Thanks for the assist PeeWee Ruiz! Edited! :)

  2. Bob Guerrero sucks as a color commentator and he keeps on saying vocabulary words. WTF! Am I listening to an English class or football class? He better try watcing ESPN Star sports and listen to Paul Masefield, Jamie Reeves, Dez Corkhill, PJ Roberts and Andy Penders.