Guam – Home pitch wasn’t necessarily an advantage for the Tumon Wings as the Guam team narrowly escaped with a 1-0 win over the visiting MP United FC Typhoons from Saipan in a friendly match Saturday at the Guam Football Association facility in Harmon.
The Wings’ Bradly Lubas was credited with the match’s lone goal, getting the last touch on the ball in front of the goal following a corner kick.
“When that situation happens, I usually call for more defenders to help me in front of the goal,” MP United’s goalkeeper, Bada Lee, said after the match. “That time, though, the ball got past us.”
Looking for the equalizer late in the second half, MP United’s Sun Joon Tenorio broke away from two Wings defenders, finding the back of the net with his shot. Tenorio was called offside on the play and the Wings held on until the final whistle for the victory.
Despite the loss in the first match, the MP United U12 team won the later game against the Strykers, 3-0. The Saipan team also was scheduled to play the Sidekicks, but not enough players from the Sidekicks club were available to play during their scheduled match time.
The MP United FC U12 team is the defending champion in their age category. Today marks the first time the squad has traveled outside of Saipan to Guam for matches.
“By playing against the Guam teams, it gives us a chance to diversify,” said Joel Jimenez, the MP United U12 team coach. “It’s good exposure for the team.
“We’re also trying to grow as an organization in Saipan. Hopefully, we’ll get more interest in soccer in Saipan, especially with these travel opportunities,” Jimenez added.
Today’s matches also marked the first time the teams played full matches on turf.
“Natural grass is good, but after playing today, I think I prefer the turf,” Lee said. “It’s a different feeling, like when I dive for the ball on the turf, it’s a little itchy.
“I hope that we can have a turf pitch in Saipan, too,” added the 6th grader at Oleai Elementary School.
The MP United FC U18 team won 5-2 against Guam’s U14 National Team in the last match of the day, after three 30-minute periods.
Friendly matches continue tomorrow at 9 a.m. with the MP United U12 team taking on the Tumon Wings in a rematch. Later, the MP United U15 and U18 teams will play against Guam national teams before they return to Saipan.