Sports — 16 March 2019
Verdes bombs Police, re-takes standings lead at Week 9 of PLB 2018-2019 Closing Season

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Mar. 13, 2019– It was the anticipated “game of the week” when 2nd place Verdes FC hosted 4th ranked Police United FC at the Norman Broaster Stadium on Sunday, but it turned out to be a one-sided affair, as the short-staffed (due to suspensions and injuries) Police United squad was trashed, 5-nil, by Verdes, who are now back on top in the standings.  (See standings below.)  In a most competitive PLB Closing Season, Verdes last led the standings back in Week 5, after which the lead changed to Bandits in Week 6, and then to San Pedro Pirates for consecutive Weeks 7 and 8.

In the only Saturday night game in Week 9, hosts Bandits Sport had to come from behind at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium, after Andres Orozco (23’) gave visiting Assassins Altitude FC a 1-nil lead.  Returning to action following the suspension of Norman Anderson, Bandits’ Khalil Velasquez (29’) equalized the score 5 minutes later; and second half goals from Jerome “Jarro” James (64’) and Honduran Jerry Palacios (88’) secured the 3-1 home win for the Bandits.

On Sunday afternoon at the Norman Broaster Stadium, Verdes fans were treated to a convincing 5-0 victory by the home team over a beleaguered Police United team that was without the services of star striker Carlton “Fubu” Thomas and ace defender Byron Usher.  Verdes’ veteran captain Elroy Smith took over the goal scoring lead with two first half goals (20’ & 24’), and second half strikes by Krisean Lopez (75’ & 85’) and Nahjib Guerra (81’) completed the 5-0 rout of the lawmen.  Meanwhile, here at the MCC, BDF FC defended home turf against Dangriga’s Wagiya Sporting Club, fresh off their home victory over the Bandits.  BDF got an early lead through Camilo Sanchez (14’), and they made that goal stand for the 1-nil home win.  Former cellar dwellers for 3 consecutive weeks, the victory has pushed BDF FC into 6th place, and within striking distance of a playoff spot in this most hotly contested PLB Closing Season.  In the other Sunday game, it was 1-1 at the Victor Sanchez Union Field in Punta Gorda, where visiting San Pedro Pirates FC took a 1-nil lead through an own goal by Freedom Fighters FC’s Onest Martinez (50’ OG), but his teammate Jaren Lambey’s late strike equalized the score, 1-1, at the 89th minute.

With 5 weeks remaining in this Closing Season, all 8 teams are still mathematically in the race for one of the top-4  playoff spots.

Upcoming Week 10 schedule:

Saturday, March 16

7:30 p.m. – Assassins Altitude FC vs Wagiya Sporting Club  –  M.A. Stadium

Sunday, March 17

4:00 p.m. – Freedom Fighters FC vs Verdes FC  –  Victor Sanchez Union Field
4:00 p.m. – BDF FC vs Bandits Sport  –  MCC Grounds
4:00 p.m. – Police United FC vs San Pedro Pirates FC  –  Isidoro Beaton Stadium

It will be an interesting match-up this coming Sunday at the MCC, where BDF FC hosts defending champion Bandits Sport.  Their first round meeting in Week 3 at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium was a 1-1 draw.  Former BDF star striker, Trimayne Harris, now with the Bandits, has been quiet this season, except for his Week 2 hat trick against the Assassins.  He will be facing his old BDF teammates this Sunday at the MCC.  There are few surprises left in this extremely competitive Closing Season, and a victory for BDF FC could push them right into the heart of the playoff race.

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Deshawn Swasey

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