Guam – In the end, it was a learning experience for Saipan’s MP United FC U15 team, perennial champions in Saipan soccer for their age division.
The Saipan team lost in their opening match against their Guam counterparts, 3-1, in soccer action at the Guam Football Association turf pitch in Harmon.
“This was a good wake-up call for the team,” MP United U15 coach Norman del Rosario said after the match. “It’s always good for the team to experience the level of play outside of Saipan. We saw what our mistakes were and what we need to work on to improve further.
“All in all, it was just a really great experience for the team. We were originally scheduled to come into Guam Friday evening, but our flight was cancelled twice. I asked the boys if they still wanted to go even if it was Sunday already. Everyone still wanted to come to Guam to play against the teams here and also to experience the new turf pitch. We don’t have a turf pitch in Saipan,” del Rosario added.
After battling to a 1-1 tie in the first half, Guam’s Thomas Park scored his second goal of the match off a follow up kick in front of the goal that beat Saipan keeper Julian Pellegrino just two minutes into the second half.
The Guam squad continued its aggressive play, outshooting their Saipan counterparts on goal. Guam final goal of the match came after the team took advantage of a corner kick in the 72nd minute of play. Saipan’s keeper leaped to deflect the well-placed kick from Park, but was not able to get his hands on the ball. Guam’s Phillip Ogo capitalized on the botched save and slipped the ball into the goal.
Despite playing two-goals down, MP United continued to push in the final minutes of play. With three minutes left to play, MP United’s Jehn Joyner found himself undefended with the ball for a split second facing the goal. Fortunately for Guam, Jehner’s shot cleared the crossbar and went out of play. About a minute later, MP United’s John Taisacan stayed on-side and beat Guam’s defenders for a shot. Guam’s goalkeeper Peter Salas got his hands on the shot and later cradled it before Taisacan was able to get a second chance at the goal.
Ryota Ito scored MP United U15’s lone goal.
In the later 7-a-side matches on the mini turf, Guam’s squad defeated MP United FC U15 4-3 after two 30-minute halves and again, 3-1, after another two 30-minute halves.
In the day’s earlier matches, MP United FC’s U12 squad avenged their first day loss to the Wings FC, this time defeating the Guam club team 3-1. MP United FC’s U18 team racked up 11 goals against Guam’s U14 national team B’s 3 for the victory.
The MP United FC squads returned to Saipan last night.
Information from press release.