Week 10 of the Premier League Opening Season tournament is history, except for one incomplete game whose result is all but academic (BDF leads Juventus, 3-0, at half-time); and, with 4 weeks of games remaining, the battle for the 2 playoff spots in each Zone is still raging hot, with previous standings leaders losing or drawing in last weekend’s games. (See standings below.)
Results in so far are: Police United FC, 2-1, over Placencia Assassins at the Isidoro Beaton on Saturday. (Police – Orlando Jimenez 51’ PK, Evan Mariano 83’; Placencia – Garry Young 17’). R.G. City Boys United, 3-2, over Paradise/Freedom Fighters at the Michael Ashcroft on Saturday. (City Boys – Jason Young 29’, Deon McCaulay 33’, Dalton Cayetano 37’; Freedom Fighters – Leonard Valdez 58’ PK, Wilmer Garcia 89’) Verdes FC drew 0-0 with San Ignacio United FC at the Marshalleck on Saturday. San Pedro Sea Dogs FC, 3-1, over FC San Felipe Barcelona at the Ambergris on Sunday. (San Pedro – Mario Chimal 55’, Angel Cantun 82’, Jesse Smith 85’; San Felipe – Oscar Accevedo 25’) BDF vs Juventus was incomplete on Sunday at the Louisiana Field. And F.C. Belize and Belmopan Bandits drew, 0-0, at the MCC on Sunday.
It was a “mano-mano” affair at the MCC yesterday, where F.C. Belize, despite losing their captain Christopher Gilharry to a red card in their last outing, still held their ground against highly touted North Zone leaders Belmopan Bandits, who had to settle for a 0-0 draw in their first visit this year to the MCC.
Both teams displayed a lot of flexibility in alignments, with frequent overlapping and rotation of players to cover vacant positions whenever a player found himself in an opportune situation to initiate an attacking thrust into his opponent’s defensive area. The game has reached another level, as similar strategies were observed from both teams last week when F.C. Belize clashed with defending champions Placencia Assassins. Fans have to look keenly to understand the formation and strategies being employed. Teams that stick too rigidly to the traditional 4-4-2 formations, without matching up with the rotation approach being perfected by some squads, may soon find themselves at a disadvantage, as these teams are getting better and better at it. “Total football” is what they are apparently aspiring to.
For example, traditionally, only the two outside midfielders would be driving forward in the attack; but recently we have seen frequent thrusts coming from the two inside midfielders, and even occasionally from the defensive stopper, who would normally roam in front of the sweeper. The game is playing, folks, never mind the scarcity of goals; that’s partly because of the terrible game surface, which acts as another defender against both teams’ strikers. One bad bounce is all it takes to spoil an attempt at goal. As Bandits coach Edmund Pandy reminded his players in their half-time huddle on Sunday, “I want the strikers to take chances, don’t be afraid of risks; you have to take risks to score; but defenders take no chances, play safety first.”
The cards were going against the visitors in this one, as half hour into the match, referee Gerald Henry, Jr. ejected Bandits coach Pandy for questioning the fairness of his calls; and about 17 minutes into 2nd half, Bandits midfielder Jacinto Bermudez was also ejected after the 4th official gave referee Henry his take of a collision away from the ball between F.C. Belize midfielder David Ramos and Jacinto
The best shot and save of the game came in the 2nd half off a right foot rifle from the top of the eighteen by Bandits central midfielder Gilbert Suazo. At first it seemed he was beaten, but F.C. Belize goalie Glenford Chimilio dived desperately to his left and just managed to tip the ball outside of the western upright in the southern goal. On the other end, Bandits’ Woodrow West continues to be stingy in goal, as Bandits have only allowed 3 goals so far in 10 outings.
(F.C. Belize – Glenford Chimilio (GK), Ryan Gill, Leon Cadle, Jorge Estrada, Luis Arriola, Francisco Briceno (Lorenzo Diaz 55’), Avian Crawford, Leon Jones (Tyrone Linares 22’), David Ramos, John King, Cambrell Blease (Michael Hernandez at half-time), coach Marvin Ottley.
Belmopan Bandits – Woodrow West (GK), Shane Armstrong, Albert Thurton, Ian Gaynair, Erick Rodriguez, Edmund Pandy, Jr. (Floyd Jones 84’), David Trapp (Lincoln Wiltshire 67’), Gilbert Suazo, Jacinto Bermudez (red card 62’), David Madrid (Jerome James 73’), Denmark Casey, Jr., coach Edmund Pandy (ejected 30’). Referee in charge – Gerald Henry, Jr.)
Week 11 schedule:
Saturday, November 10
7:30 p.m. – San Ignacio United vs R.G. City Boys United – Norman Broaster Stadium
7:30 p.m. – Belmopan Bandits vs Juventus FC – Isidoro Beaton Stadium
Sunday, November 11
3:30 p.m. – FC San Felipe Barcelona vs Belize Defence Force – San Felipe Football Field
3:30 p.m. – Police United FC vs Verdes FC – FFB Stadium
4:00 p.m. – F.C. Belize vs San Pedro Sea Dogs – MCC Grounds
4:00 p.m. – Placencia Assassins vs Paradise/Freedom Fighters – Placencia Football Field