BELIZE CITY–What a difference a weekend makes! With 6 teams fighting for 4 playoff spots, Saturday night saw Police United FC become the first team to definitely secure a playoff spot with their 3-0 default win over no-show FC Belize at the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk. Meanwhile, defending champions Belmopan Bandits had strengthened their position with an 8-1 thrashing of short-staffed Paradise/Freedom Fighters at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium. Shaking the net for the Bandits were Elroy “Bibs” Kuylen (12’ & 20’), Jordy Polanco (34’), Jerome “Jarro” James (45+’), Highking Roberts (52’ & 54’) and John King (83’). The Bandits also benefited from an early own goal by Freedom Fighters defender Adrian Gonzalez (4’ O.G.). The only goal for the visitors was by veteran Wilmer Garcia (47’), whose direct kick from 25 yards out curved over the wall and found the right pigeon hole past a diving Woodrow West in goal for the Bandits. Wilmer’s laser left foot almost found the mark again from another free kick, but this one passed a couple inches over the crossbar in the left corner.
On Sunday, there were some thrills for Verdes down south, and a shock for Placencia Texmar Assassins out west.
At home in the Carl Ramos Stadium in Dangriga, Abraham Chavez struck early (7’) to give Wagiya a 1-nil lead over visiting Verdes FC; and they held the lead into the half-time break. A Wagiya victory would play havoc with Verdes’ chances at making the playoffs, because their remaining game is against the tough BDF. But Verdes settled down in second half, and the goals came pouring in to end at 6-1 in their favor, and assuring themselves a spot in the playoffs. With the loss, Wagiya is now out of playoff contention. Hitting the target for Verdes were Marlon Molina (51’, 67’ & 85’), Cristobal Gilharry (52’), Jarret Davis (72’ P.K.) and San Leobardo Mendez (83’).
The shock happened at the Norman Broaster Stadium, where cellar dwelling San Ignacio United refused to be taken lightly, and put a serious dent in the hopes of Placencia Texmar Assassins at seeing post season action. Torben Bhrens (14’) put San Ignacio in front early, and the Cayo squad held the 1-nil lead all the way to injury time, before Placencia’s Gilbert Rivas (90+’) managed to equalize in injury time.
Two teams have therefore earned a playoff spot already – Police United FC and Verdes FC. And 3 teams – BDF, Belmopan Bandits and Placencia Texmar Assassins – are left to battle for the remaining 2 playoff spots with 1 weekend of games remaining. (See standings below.)
Final regular season games:
Saturday, December 13
7:30 p.m. – FC Belize vs Belmopan Bandits FC – People’s Stadium
7:30 p.m. – Police United FC vs San Ignacio United FC – Isidoro Beaton Stadium
7:30 p.m. – Placencia Texmar Assassins vs Wagiya FC – Michael Ashcroft Stadium
Sunday, December 4
4:00 p.m. – Verdes FC vs Belize Defence Force FC – Norman Broaster Stadium
To make the playoffs, Placencia must win big against Wagiya, and then hope that either BDF loses against Verdes in order to eclipse BDF on goal difference; or hope that the Bandits lose to the struggling FC Belize, a tall order indeed. But, so they had written off San Ignacio. Anything is still possible.