Sports — 24 November 2015
PLB update, 2 mid-week back matches have serious playoff implications

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Nov. 23, 2015–Despite a few setbacks due to weather and other factors causing game cancellations, the Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2015-2015 Opening Season regular season is down to its final week of regular season games; and in the next few days it will be determined which are the 4 teams, from the 6 that participated in this Opening Season, who will go on to the playoffs.

With the completion of last Wednesday’s back match between Placencia Assassins and Verdes FC, and the two Week 9 games played over the past weekend, two teams, Police United and Placencia Texmar Assassins, have already clinched playoff berths, having accumulated a total of 15 points so far. Verdes and Belmopan Bandits are both in a strong position to make the playoffs, while BDF still has an outside chance, should they win both their remaining games, which would give them a total of 14 points. (They presently have 8. See standings below.)

In last Wednesday night’s Week 6 back match at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium in Independence, home standing Placencia Texmar Assassins dropped defending champions Verdes FC, 2-nil, with goals from Arnie Whyte (3’) and Luis “Baaka” Torres (38’).

In Week 9 action on Saturday night, November 21, the Assassins were at home again, this time hosting Belmopan Bandits; and our reports are that it was a 1-1 draw (details not yet available). And yesterday at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio, Verdes FC shut out the visiting Wagiya by a 5-nil score. The other Week 9 game, between BDF and Police United, was not played, and will be played this Wednesday night at the Norman Broaster Stadium. Meanwhile, the Belmopan Bandits vs Verdes Week 8 back match will be played on the same night, Wednesday, at the FFB Stadium. The playoff package may be decided on Wednesday night, leaving the Week 10 weekend games only to determine the seeding match-ups in the playoff.

What makes the situation more intriguing, going into Wednesday’s back matches and the final weekend of regular season games, is that defending champion Verdes FC is no longer the “powerhouse” it was earlier in the competition, when it featured a number of formidable international additions. Verdes was allowed to “strengthen” for their CONCACAF Champions League commitment, but due to a recent ruling from the FFB, they are now limited to a maximum of 5 foreign nationals on their roster. And at least a couple of the names no longer in the Verdes line-up were very impacting players, and will be missed in these important remaining regular season games, and in the playoffs, if they qualify. Our reliable sources say that the Verdes roster no longer includes goalkeeper Benito Moreira (Honduran), strikers Alcides “Paco” Thomas (Brazilian) and Oswin Williams (Trinidadian), and midfielder Jesus Patino (Mexican). And Verdes’ last 2 remaining games are against two tough opponents – Belmopan Bandits and Police United.

Mid-week back matches:

Wednesday, November 25
7:30 p.m. – Belmopan Bandits FC vs Verdes FC – FFB Stadium
7:30 p.m. – BDF FC vs Police United FC – Norman Broaster Stadium

Week 10 games to end regular season:

Saturday, November 28
7:30 p.m. – Wagiya FC vs Placencia Assassins FC – Michael Ashcroft Stadium
7:30 p.m. – Belmopan Bandits FC vs BDF FC – FFB Stadium

Sunday, November 29
4:00 p.m. – Police United FC vs Verdes FC – Norman Broaster Stadium

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