GUAM FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

U19 Men to apply experience gained in future tourneys

[November 11, 2019 - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam] Guam’s U19 National Team overcame various challenges to achieve the desired objective of continual improvement through three matches as the AFC U19 Championship Qualifier Group J tournament came to a close Sunday evening at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Vietnam.

“The team faced three different styles of play and came across different challenges in each of these games,” said Karl Dodd, Guam U19 Head Coach. “Once the players learned how to deal with these challenges, they became more comfortable in the game. The objective was for the players to continually improve throughout the course of the qualifiers, and I would say they did this.

“There is still plenty to work on and improve upon for this group of players to make the step up to the Matao (Guam Men’s National Team), but it is nothing that they cannot achieve with the right application and effort in every training and match,” added Dodd, who also is the Guam’s National Team Head Coach.

Guam’s team was faced with its toughest match to open the tournament, competing against eventual group winners Japan Nov. 6.

Despite Japan’s shutout victory on opening day, Guam’s team regrouped and played a stronger match against Vietnam, netting the only goal scored against the host country in the tournament. Guam’s Jacob McDonald followed up on a through ball initially parried by Vietnamese goalkeeper Quan Van Chuan in the 33rd minute. Japan, needing only at least a draw to advance to the next stage, failed to score against Vietnam in the scoreless contest on Match Day 3.

In Guam’s final match of the tournament, Kris Fernandez found Mongolia keeper Sanchir Anand out of position, lobbing his shot into the goal off a header assist from Jacob McDonald in the 18th minute. One minute later, Micah Hennegan put Guam up 2-0, stripping the ball from a Mongolia defender and finishing the one-on-one play with Mongolia’s goalkeeper. Despite the early deficit, Mongolia managed to lead 3-2 at halftime.

In the 76th minute, after a Fernandez cross from the right side was headed away by a Mongolian defender toward the outside of the penalty area, Graysen Garber capitalized on the play, launching a shot to the upper left corner of the goal to level the match a 3-3. With both teams searching for the game winner as time waned in the match, it would be an 89th minute goal by Oyunbold Oyuntuya to lift Mongolia in the eventual 4-3 contest.

“After the last game, we spoke about the national team pathway and where each of the players was in their soccer journey,” Dodd said. “We spoke about the importance of learning from mistakes and ensuring we don’t make the same ones again, along with understanding the level required to match the top teams in Asia.

“The positives from the tournament were that the players showed in parts of the games that they can match it with the top teams, but it is now working even harder in training and games to ensure that they can match every moment that the game presents, as we get punished in those moments we don’t give 100 percent in. This is the reality of professional soccer,” added Dodd, who also played soccer professionally before transitioning to a professional coach.

Japan, topping Group J, advances to the next round of the tournament, as well as the other top-ranked teams from each of the 10 other groups. Uzbekistan, hosts of the tournament’s final round, automatically qualify. The complete listing of the four best second-place finishers also advancing to the next round of the tournament will officially be determined following the completion of Group A matches, which will be played at the end of the month in Oman.

 

Guam's starting 11 players against Mongolia pose for a group photo ahead of their match Sunday of Group J in the AFC U19 Championship 2020 at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Mongolia slipped past Guam 4-3. In the photo are, from front row left to right, Anthony Quidachay, Noah Mueller, Alexander Stenson, Micah Hennegan, and Kris Fernandez. In the back row, from left to right, are Matt Iseke, Emilio Babauta, Jacob McDonald, Morgan McKenna, Taiga Simon, and Kyle Halehale. Photo courtesy of the Vietnam Football Federation

 

Players from Guam's team celebrate with Kris Fernandez (No. 7) after he scored the first goal of the contest against Mongolia during a AFC U19 Championship 2020 Group J played Sunday at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Mongolia slipped past Guam 4-3. Photo courtesy of the Vietnam Football Federation

 

Guam's Anthony Quidachay attempts to take possession of the ball against Mongolia during a AFC U19 Championship 2020 Group J played Sunday at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Mongolia slipped past Guam 4-3. Photo courtesy of the Vietnam Football Federation

 

Guam's Jacob McDonald makes his way toward the goal against Mongolia during a AFC U19 Championship 2020 Group J played Sunday at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Mongolia slipped past Guam 4-3. Photo courtesy of the Vietnam Football Federation

 

Guam's Kris Fernandez fights off Mongolia's Batbayar Battugs as he stays in control of the ball during a AFC U19 Championship 2020 Group J played Sunday at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Mongolia slipped past Guam 4-3. Photo courtesy of the Vietnam Football Federation

 

Guam's Matt Iseke controls the ball against Mongolia during a AFC U19 Championship 2020 Group J played Sunday at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Mongolia slipped past Guam 4-3. Photo courtesy of the Vietnam Football Federation

 
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