Guam U14 Soccer Seeks First Win After Losses to Taiwan and Korea

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Guam – After swallowing a devastating loss to Chinese Taipei, 5-1, Guam’s U14 Boys National team was hit with another defeat, this time by the only undefeated team, Korea Republic, 10-1, in the 2012 AFC U14 Boys Festival of Football at the National Football Training Center in Beijing, China.

“The Korean team has good movement on and off the ball,” said Jerome Artero, one of Guam’s national team goalkeepers and a member of the Sidekicks soccer club in Guam. “They’re fast and they know how to place shots.

“We have one more game (Sunday). The team needs to just talk a lot, never give up, and focus. We need to play 60 minutes through and try to go home with one last win,” added Artero, a student at Bishop Baumgartner Middle School.

[Jake Benito (11) powers past Chinese Taipei defenders in the 2012 AFC U14 Boys Festival of Football at the National Football Training Center in Beijing, China on Saturday. Benito scored Guam’s lone goal in the 5-1 contest against Chinese Taipei.]

Despite playing with an injured finger from the morning’s game against Chinese Taipei, Artero recorded a handful of saves, including a sliding kick block in the opening minutes of play and a diving catch before the halftime whistle. Guam’s defensive line aided in limiting shots on goal by South Korea, but by halftime, the undefeated team rocked Guam for six goals.

Guam’s lone goal in the contest came early in the second half. Napu Topasna carried the ball to about 18 yards on the left side and drew out South Korea’s goalkeeper. Topasna passed the ball to Devin Hua, whose shot over South Korea’s goalkeeper managed to find the back of the net.

Against Chinese Taipei, Guam held its ground through the first half, battling to a 1-1 tie before halftime. Chinese Taipei got on the scoring board first on a penalty kick earned after a hand ball violation was called on Guam in the box. Three minutes before the halftime whistle, Jake Benito found a small gap in Chinese Taipei’s defense and muscled his way toward the goal for the equalizer.

Guam kept its defensive momentum into the second half until Chinese Taipei was awarded an indirect kick on a back pass violation. Chinese Taipei completed the one-two play around Guam’s wall for the score and the 2-1 advantage. From then, Chinese Taipei scored three more and limited Guam’s shots to take the match.

Guam’s second half goalkeeper, Tanner Kukes, left the game early after suffering an injury to his hand after landing awkwardly on a leap against a Chinese Taipei shot. Artero, who entered the game again in place of Kukes, worked his way through the half with a sprained finger that he suffered in the first half when a player from Chinese Taipei accidentally stepped on his hand.

Although Guam was originally slated to play Hong Kong for the third time at 10 a.m. Beijing time (12 noon Guam time) Sunday, the schedule was changed to allow Guam to instead play Macau 3 p.m. Beijing time (5 p.m. Guam time).