Efforts to get past US Major League Soccer side Portland Timbers, ended dismally for local football powerhouse,
Alpha ‘The Hammer’ United, and the team eventually surrendered 4-1 in their Group 5 match of the CONCACAF Champions League at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence, Tuesday evening last.
The local team had earlier conceded a 1-0 loss to Olimpia of Honduras and was anxious, but failed to reverse its fortunes. Nevertheless, the team plans to regroup and positively address their other two encounters in the group stage.
Goals by Steve Zakuani (18), Maximiliano Urruti (34), Fanendo Adi (66) and Alvas Powell (83) proved too much for the Guyanese players whose 45th minute consolation goal off the boot of Barbosa Murilo proved to be inconsequential.
Having surrendered to Olimpia FC of Honduras, two weeks ago, the Guyanese ball weavers needed to win the game against Portland Timbers convincingly and accrue the available 3 points but this was not to be.
Following the loss to the Honduras team, coach of the local squad, Wayne ‘Wiggy’ Dover, had promised to regroup and apply certain strategies in order to strengthen his team’s position in the tournament.
The team had engaged in stiff practice sessions at the National Stadium and the rationale was that the players would have been able to get a feel of the playing surface before the actual match.
A despondent Dover once again faced the media in the post-match press conference and admitted that his boys made some elementary mistakes.
He said that the players were on cue in the early stages of the game and initiated good build-ups but were not as discipline as they should have been. Dover is quite aware of the team’s standing in the tournament and in response to a question of its progression to the top he said, “It’s a very uphill task now that we have to compete on their turf and while I admit it is an uphill task, I would say it’s not impossible but highly improbable.”
He was alluding to Alpha’s return matches with Olimpia and Portland Timbers in those respective countries.
Asked to respond to a view that there seemed to be a lack of communication on the field Dover said that he believes his team succumbed to a quick counter attack strategy and that his men were not as compact as they should have been.
He also admitted that the defence was not as organized as the previous game. “We spent a lot of time working on our offence and defence but those efforts were wasted,” a dejected Dover admitted.
Alpha now travels to Honduras for its return game with Olimpia on August 28 and less than one month later, on September 23, to the USA, for the second clash with Portland Timbers. They are 4 goals in arrears with back to back losses and while Dover said that the team’s chances at qualification seem bleak, he said the players will approach the games positively.
“The coaching staff will focus on motivation while attempting to keep the team organized and we will still be positive despite the grim situation,” said Dover.
Coach of Portland Timbers, Caleb Porter, was naturally ecstatic with the win and while lauding the Alpha squad for a good competitive match, said that his men were the more experienced bunch which made the difference. Mr. Porter said that it was important that his team accrue maximum points as Olimpia had managed in their earlier encounter with Alpha.
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